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Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 91; doi:10.3390/su10010091

Spatial Characteristics, Health Risk Assessment and Sustainable Management of Heavy Metals and Metalloids in Soils from Central China

1,2
,
1,2
and
1,2,*
1
Research Center for Environment and Health, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan 430073, China
2
School of Information and Safety Engineering, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan 430073, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 28 December 2017 / Published: 4 January 2018
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Abstract

The contents of seven toxic metals (Cu, Cr, Cd, Zn, Pb, Hg and As) in soils from Central China, including Henan Province, Hubei Province and Hunan Province, were collected from published papers from 2007 to 2017. The geoaccumulation index, health risk assessment model and statistics were adopted to study the spatial contamination pattern, to assess the human health risks and to identify the priority control pollutants. The concentrations of soil metals in Central China, especially Cd (1.31 mg/kg), Pb (44.43 mg/kg) and Hg (0.19 mg/kg), surpassed their corresponding background values, and the Igeo values of Cd and Hg varied the most, ranging from the unpolluted level to the extremely polluted level. The concentrations of toxic metals were higher in the southern and northern parts of Central China, contrasting to the lowest contents in the middle parts. For non-carcinogenic risk, the hazard index (HI) values for the children in Hubei Province (1.10) and Hunan Province (1.41) exceeded the safe level of one, with higher health risks to children than adults, and the hazard quotient (HQ) values of the three exposure pathways for both children and adults in Central China decreased in the following order: ingestion > dermal contact > inhalation. For carcinogenic risk (CR), the CR values for children in Hubei Province (2.55 × 10−4), Hunan Province (3.44 × 10−4) and Henan Province (1.69 × 10−4), and the CR for adults in Hubei Province (3.67 × 10−5), Hunan Province (4.92 × 10−5) and Henan Province (2.45 × 10−5) exceeded the unacceptable level (10−4) and acceptable level (10−6), respectively. Arsenic (As) appeared to be the main metalloid for both children and adults causing the high carcinogenic risk. For sustainable development in Central China, special attention should be paid to Cd, Hg, Cr, Pb and As, identified as the priority control soil metals. Importance should also be attached to public education, source control, and the remediation of the highly contaminated soils, especially in the areas where it can endanger the groundwater. Furthermore, it is necessary to appropriately adjust the industrial structure and cooperate more to form a complete economic zone. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil contamination; toxic metals; spatial distribution; health risk assessment; sustainable management; Central China soil contamination; toxic metals; spatial distribution; health risk assessment; sustainable management; Central China
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Li, F.; Cai, Y.; Zhang, J. Spatial Characteristics, Health Risk Assessment and Sustainable Management of Heavy Metals and Metalloids in Soils from Central China. Sustainability 2018, 10, 91.

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