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Minerals 2015, 5(4), 837-848; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5040528

Human Health Risk Assessment and Safety Threshold of Harmful Trace Elements in the Soil Environment of the Wulantuga Open-Cast Coal Mine

1
School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing 100083, China
2
Yanqing Country Water Authority, Beijing 100083, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Shifeng Dai and David Cliff
Received: 6 September 2015 / Revised: 13 November 2015 / Accepted: 20 November 2015 / Published: 30 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal)
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Abstract

In this study, soil samples were collected from a large-scale open-cast coal mine area in Inner Mongolia, China. Arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), beryllium (Be) and nickel (Ni) in soil samples were detected using novel collision/reaction cell technology (CCT) with inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS; collectively ICP-CCT-MS) after closed-vessel microwave digestion. Human health risk from As, Cd, Be and Ni was assessed via three exposure pathways—inhalation, skin contact and soil particle ingestion. The comprehensive carcinogenic risk from As in Wulantuga open-cast coal mine soil is 6.29–87.70-times the acceptable risk, and the highest total hazard quotient of As in soils in this area can reach 4.53-times acceptable risk levels. The carcinogenic risk and hazard quotient of Cd, Be and Ni are acceptable. The main exposure route of As from open-cast coal mine soils is soil particle ingestion, accounting for 76.64% of the total carcinogenic risk. Considering different control values for each exposure pathway, the minimum control value (1.59 mg/kg) could be selected as the strict reference safety threshold for As in the soil environment of coal-chemical industry areas. However, acceptable levels of carcinogenic risk are not unanimous; thus, the safety threshold identified here, calculated under a 1.00 × 10−6 acceptable carcinogenic risk level, needs further consideration. View Full-Text
Keywords: carcinogenic risk; hazard quotient; open-cast coal mine; arsenic; soil; safety threshold; harmful trace elements carcinogenic risk; hazard quotient; open-cast coal mine; arsenic; soil; safety threshold; harmful trace elements
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Jia, J.; Li, X.; Wu, P.; Liu, Y.; Han, C.; Zhou, L.; Yang, L. Human Health Risk Assessment and Safety Threshold of Harmful Trace Elements in the Soil Environment of the Wulantuga Open-Cast Coal Mine. Minerals 2015, 5, 837-848.

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