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Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Soils from Witwatersrand Gold Mining Basin, South Africa

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Center for Applied Radiation Science and Technology, North West University (Mafikeng), Private Bag X2046, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa
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iThemba LABS, National Research Foundation, Private Bag X11, Wits 2050, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Howard W. Mielke
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13070663
Received: 7 April 2016 / Revised: 26 May 2016 / Accepted: 28 June 2016 / Published: 30 June 2016
The study evaluates the health risk caused by heavy metals to the inhabitants of a gold mining area. In this study, 56 soil samples from five mine tailings and 17 from two mine villages were collected and analyzed for Asernic (As), Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Cobalt (Co), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn) using ICP-MS. Measured concentrations of these heavy metals were then used to calculate the health risk for adults and children. Their concentrations were such that Cr > Ni > As > Zn > Cu > Co > Pb > Hg > Cd, with As, Cr and Ni higher than permissible levels. For the adult population, the Hazard Index value for all pathways was found to be 2.13, making non-carcinogenic effects significant to the adult population. For children, the Hazard Index value was 43.80, a value >>1, which poses serious non-carcinogenic effect to children living in the gold mining area. The carcinogenic risk was found to be 1.7 × 10−4 implying that 1 person in every 5882 adults may be affected. In addition, for children, in every 2725 individuals, 1 child may be affected (3.67 × 10−4). These carcinogenic risk values were both higher than acceptable values. View Full-Text
Keywords: ICP-MS; heavy metal; hazard index; average daily intake; carcinogenic risk; non-carcinogenic risk ICP-MS; heavy metal; hazard index; average daily intake; carcinogenic risk; non-carcinogenic risk
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Kamunda, C.; Mathuthu, M.; Madhuku, M. Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Soils from Witwatersrand Gold Mining Basin, South Africa. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 663.

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