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Special Issue "Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Susanne Charlesworth

Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, Coventry, CV1 5FB, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Sustainable drainage (SuDS); water and sediment quality in SuDS devices; metal pollution of urban environments; drainage of informal settlements and refugee camps; Natural Flood Resilience Measures

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Submissions are invited to this Special Issue (SI) related to all aspects of metals and their environmental and human health impacts. The SI is therefore multidisciplinary in approach, reflecting state-of-the-art research across the breadth of the international scientific community. Thus, submissions should cover the latest research on the behaviour of metals in the environment, their cycles and pathways, whether rural or urban, industrial or agricultural. Impacts on human health could consider their assessment, monitoring and testing, routes into the human body, associated diseases and conditions, toxicity and treatments. Impacts on environmental health may include the process of pollution, impacts on ecosystems and remediation techniques. Of interest are also developments worldwide in managing metals, policy and guidelines to protect the environment and human health, economic impacts and the needs of society.
 
Prof. Dr. Susanne Charlesworth
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • heavy metals
  • environment
  • human health
  • toxicity
  • pathways
  • contamination

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Metal Water-Sediment Interactions and Impacts on an Urban Ecosystem
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070722
Received: 26 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (918 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requirement that all surface water bodies achieve good ecological status is still a goal for many regulatory authorities in England and Wales. This paper describes field and laboratory studies designed to identify metal contaminant loadings and their [...] Read more.
The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requirement that all surface water bodies achieve good ecological status is still a goal for many regulatory authorities in England and Wales. This paper describes field and laboratory studies designed to identify metal contaminant loadings and their distributions within water bodies located in the Lower Lee catchment (London, UK). Water and sediment samples have been collected from increasingly urbanised sites on the River Lee and its main tributaries over a two-year period with samples analysed for total concentrations of cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, tin, and zinc. Complimentary batch tests indicate a positive relationship between aqueous metal concentrations and the batch test-derived sediment metal release data, particularly during wet weather events. Field data indicate a dynamic relationship between water and sediment concentrations with both being capable of exceeding relevant environmental quality standards/sediment quality guidelines at all sites. Mean sediment metal concentrations across all sites were found to be highest for Cu (141.1 ± 111.0 µg g−1), Pb (175.7 ± 83.0 µg g−1), and Zn (499.9 ± 264.7 µg g−1) with Zn demonstrating elevated mean water concentrations (17.2 ± 13.8 µg L−1) followed by Ni (15.6 ± 11.4 µg L−1) and Cu (11.1 ± 17.8 µg L−1). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Lead, Nickel, and Zinc Pollution in Topsoil from a Historic Shooting Range Rehabilitated into a Public Urban Park
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070698
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (3888 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Soil contamination is a persistent problem in the world. The redevelopment of a site with a historical deposition of metals might conceal the threat of remaining pollution, especially when the site has become a public place. In this study, human health risk assessment [...] Read more.
Soil contamination is a persistent problem in the world. The redevelopment of a site with a historical deposition of metals might conceal the threat of remaining pollution, especially when the site has become a public place. In this study, human health risk assessment is performed after defining the concentrations of Pb, Ni, and Zn in the topsoil of a former shooting range rehabilitated into a public park in the Municipality of Kesariani (Athens, Greece). A methodology that uses inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS, 13 samples), another that uses portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) following a dense sample design (91 samples), and a hybrid approach that combines both, were used to obtain the concentrations of the trace elements. The enrichment factor and geoacummulation index were calculated to define the degree of pollution of the site. The hazard quotient and cancer risk indicators were also computed to find the risk to which the population is exposed. The present study reveals high non-carcinogenic health risk due to Pb pollution with ingestion as the main exposure pathway. The carcinogenic risk for Pb is within tolerable limits, but the definition of land use might alter such a statement. Lastly, regarding Ni and Zn, the site is unpolluted and there is insignificant carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Trace Metal Levels in the General Population of Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070702
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (327 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine the levels of trace metals in the blood of the general Korean population. A total of 258 healthy individuals, according to their regular medical check-ups, (119 males and 139 females, age ranging from 12 to [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to determine the levels of trace metals in the blood of the general Korean population. A total of 258 healthy individuals, according to their regular medical check-ups, (119 males and 139 females, age ranging from 12 to 78 years old) were enrolled from December 2014 to December 2016. Levels of 10 trace elements were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The geometric mean (GM) levels for lead, arsenic, cesium, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc were 15.97 μg/L, 7.19 μg/L, 2.39 μg/L, 3.41 μg/L, 10.57 μg/L, 0.78 μg/L, 979.8 μg/L, 11.06 μg/L, 111.37 μg/L, and 872.7 μg/L, respectively. There were significant gender-related differences in the levels of several metals; male individuals had higher Pb, As, Cs, Hg, and Se than females, while females had higher Cd, Cu, and Mn than males. We noticed remarkably high blood levels of Hg, As and Al in the Korean population. The element concentrations reported represent a new contribution to the knowledge of the blood chemistry for the Korea population. The data can be used to assess the clinical health of this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle
Use of Vegetable Fibers for PRB to Remove Heavy Metals from Contaminated Aquifers—Comparisons among Cabuya Fibers, Broom Fibers and ZVI
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070684
Received: 19 April 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 22 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2345 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Zero Valent Iron (ZVI) is the material most commonly used for permeable reactive barriers (PRB). For technical and economic reasons, hoter reactive substances usable in alternative to ZVI are investigated. The present study takes into account a vegetable fibers, the cabuya, investigating [...] Read more.
The Zero Valent Iron (ZVI) is the material most commonly used for permeable reactive barriers (PRB). For technical and economic reasons, hoter reactive substances usable in alternative to ZVI are investigated. The present study takes into account a vegetable fibers, the cabuya, investigating its capacity to retain heavy metals. The capacity of the cabuya fibers to adsorb heavy metals was verified in laboratory, by batch and column tests. The batch tests were carried out with cabuya and ZVI, using copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb). The results obtained by the cabuya fibers showed a very high adsorption capacity of heavy metals and resulted very similar to those obtained for the broom fibers in a previous study. The high value of the absorption capacity of the cabuya fibers was also confirmed by the analogous comparison made with the results of the batch tests carried out with ZVI. Column tests, using copper, zinc and cadmium, allowed to determine for the cabuya fibers the maximum removal percentage of the heavy metals considered, the corresponding times and the time ranges of the release phase. For each metal considered, for a given length and three different times, the constant of degradation of cabuya fibers was determined, obtaining values very close to those reported for broom fibers. The scalar behavior of heavy metal removal percentage was verified. An electron microscope analysis allowed to compare, by SEM images, the characteristics of the cabuya and broom fibers. Finally, to investigate the chemical structure of cabuya and broom fibers, the FTIR technique was used, obtaining their respective infrared spectra. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Trace Element and Metal Accumulation and Edibility Risk Associated with Consumption of Labeo umbratus from the Vaal Dam, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070678
Received: 5 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 16 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (696 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
With the occurrence of recreational and small scale subsistence fishing activities at the Vaal Dam, South Africa, consumption of fish from this dam may result in health risks associated with trace elements and metals. The Vaal Dam is one of the largest dams [...] Read more.
With the occurrence of recreational and small scale subsistence fishing activities at the Vaal Dam, South Africa, consumption of fish from this dam may result in health risks associated with trace elements and metals. The Vaal Dam is one of the largest dams in South Africa, located between the Gauteng Province and Orange Free State, and supplies water to approximately 11.6 million people. A total of 38 specimens of the benthic cyprinid fish Labeo umbratus were collected from the Vaal Dam during two surveys, in 2011 and 2016. Samples of muscle, liver, kidney, gill and spinal cord were analysed, along with sediment samples collected during the same surveys. Thirteen trace elements were analysed in the samples by Inductively Coupled Plasma–Optical Emission Spectrometry, Inductively Coupled Plasma–Mass Spectrometry, Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy and Total Reflection X-ray Fluorescence spectroscopy. This is the first survey on trace element and Hg accumulation in this fish species from the Vaal Dam and target hazard quotients (THQ) indicated that there is a risk for consumers of fish for As and Hg (THQ = 1.43 and 1.14 respectively). Although levels of trace elements in this impoundment have shown little change for a number of years and are lower than global background levels, studies detailing the accumulation of metals by fish inhabiting the Vaal Dam have indicated that trace elements in muscle tissue are above food safety guidelines. Trace element levels in L. umbratus are lower compared to other species inhabiting the Vaal Dam and further indicate that risks for consumers can be decreased if humans relying on fish from the Vaal Dam preferentially consume this species over others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Fate of Pollutants in Porous Asphalt Pavements, Laboratory Experiments to Investigate Their Potential to Impact Environmental Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(6), 666; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14060666
Received: 28 March 2017 / Revised: 17 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 21 June 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (4300 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pervious Paving Systems (PPS) are part of a sustainable approach to drainage in which excess surface water is encouraged to infiltrate through their structure, during which potentially toxic elements, such as metals and hydrocarbons are treated by biodegradation and physical entrapment and storage. [...] Read more.
Pervious Paving Systems (PPS) are part of a sustainable approach to drainage in which excess surface water is encouraged to infiltrate through their structure, during which potentially toxic elements, such as metals and hydrocarbons are treated by biodegradation and physical entrapment and storage. However, it is not known where in the PPS structure these contaminants accumulate, which has implications for environmental health, particularly during maintenance, as well as consequences for the recycling of material from the PPS at the end-of-life. A 1 m3 porous asphalt (PA) PPS test rig was monitored for 38 months after monthly additions of road sediment (RS) (367.5 g in total) and unused oil (430 mL in total), characteristic of urban loadings, were applied. Using a rainfall simulator, a typical UK rainfall rate of 15 mm/h was used to investigate its efficiency in dealing with contamination. Water quality of the effluent discharged from the rig was found to be suitable for discharge to most environments. On completion of the monitoring, a core was taken down through its surface, and samples of sediment and aggregate were taken. Analysis showed that most of the sediment remained in the surface course, with metal levels lower than the original RS, but higher than clean, unused aggregate or PA. However, even extrapolating these concentrations to 20 years’ worth of in-service use (the projected life of PPS) did not suggest their accumulation would present an environmental pollution risk when carrying out maintenance of the pavement and also indicates that the material could be recycled at end-of-life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Solidification and Biotoxicity Assessment of Thermally Treated Municipal Solid Waste Incineration (MSWI) Fly Ash
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(6), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14060626
Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 27 May 2017 / Accepted: 7 June 2017 / Published: 10 June 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3188 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the present work, thermal treatment was used to stabilize municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) fly ash, which was considered hazardous waste. Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) results indicated that, after the thermal process, the leaching concentrations of Pb, Cu, and Zn decreased [...] Read more.
In the present work, thermal treatment was used to stabilize municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) fly ash, which was considered hazardous waste. Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) results indicated that, after the thermal process, the leaching concentrations of Pb, Cu, and Zn decreased from 8.08 to 0.16 mg/L, 0.12 to 0.017 mg/L and 0.39 to 0.1 mg/L, respectively, which well met the limits in GB5085.3-2007 and GB16689-2008. Thermal treatment showed a negative effect on the leachability of Cr with concentrations increasing from 0.1 to 1.28 mg/L; nevertheless, it was still under the limitations. XRD analysis suggested that, after thermal treatments, CaO was newly generated. CaO was a main contribution to higher Cr leaching concentrations owing to the formation of Cr (VI)—compounds such as CaCrO4. SEM/EDS tests revealed that particle adhesion, agglomeration, and grain growth happened during the thermal process and thus diminished the leachability of Pb, Cu, and Zn, but these processes had no significant influence on the leaching of Cr. A microbial assay demonstrated that all thermally treated samples yet possessed strong bactericidal activity according to optical density (OD) test results. Among all samples, the OD value of raw fly ash (RFA) was lowest followed by FA700-10, FA900-10, and FA1100-10 in an increasing order, which indicated that the sequence of the biotoxicity for these samples was RFA > FA700-10 > FA900-10 > FA1100-10. This preliminary study indicated that, apart from TCLP criteria, the biotoxicity assessment was indispensable for evaluating the effect of thermal treatment for MSWI fly ash. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Inorganic Macro- and Micronutrients in “Superberries” Black Chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) and Related Teas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 539; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050539
Received: 11 April 2017 / Revised: 12 May 2017 / Accepted: 16 May 2017 / Published: 18 May 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (610 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Black chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) are considered to be functional food containing high amounts of anthocyanins, phenols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Whereas organic compounds are well studied, there is little research on the mineral composition of the chokeberries. Thus, the presented study [...] Read more.
Black chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) are considered to be functional food containing high amounts of anthocyanins, phenols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Whereas organic compounds are well studied, there is little research on the mineral composition of the chokeberries. Thus, the presented study is focused on the determination of Al, As, Ba, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, Pb, Se, Sr and Zn in black chokeberry fruits and infusions to study the metals’ extractability. The nutrients Ca, K and Mg are present in the fruits (dried matter) at g/kg level, whereas the other elements are present from µg/kg up to mg/kg level. The extraction yields of the metals from the infusion range from 4 (Al, Mn) up to 44% (Na). The toxic elements present do not pose any health risk when berries or infusions are consumed. Concluding, Aronia berries, as well as infusions derived from them, are a good dietary source of essential metals in addition to the organic compounds also contained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Nano-Hydroxyapatite on the Metal Bioavailability, Plant Metal Accumulation and Root Exudates of Ryegrass for Phytoremediation in Lead-Polluted Soil
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050532
Received: 11 December 2016 / Revised: 25 April 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 16 May 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (902 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lead is recognized as one of the most widespread toxic metal contaminants and pervasive environmental health concerns in the environment. In this paper, the effects of nano-hydroxyapatite (NHAP) on remediation in artificially Pb-contaminated soils and ryegrass were studied in a pot experiment. The [...] Read more.
Lead is recognized as one of the most widespread toxic metal contaminants and pervasive environmental health concerns in the environment. In this paper, the effects of nano-hydroxyapatite (NHAP) on remediation in artificially Pb-contaminated soils and ryegrass were studied in a pot experiment. The addition of NHAP decreased the water- and acid-soluble, exchangeable, and reducible fractions of Pb, extracted using the Community Bureau of Reference (BCR) method, whilst greatly increasing the residual fraction of Pb. Oxidizable Pb was increased slightly. No significant increase in soil pH was caused by the application of NHAP. Compared to conditions without NHAP, the addition of NHAP decreased the Pb content in ryegrass shoots and roots by 13.19–20.3% and 2.86–21.1%, respectively. Therefore, the application of NHAP reduced the mobility and bioavailability of Pb in the soil. In addition, the application of NHAP improved the fresh weight of shoots and roots, and promoted the growth of ryegrass. NHAP played a positive role in stimulating ryegrass to secrete tartaric acid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Moss to Assess Airborne Heavy Metal Pollution in Taizhou, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14040430
Received: 18 January 2017 / Revised: 17 March 2017 / Accepted: 12 April 2017 / Published: 17 April 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2956 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Bryophytes act as bioindicators and bioaccumulators of metal deposition in the environment. To understand the atmospheric deposition of heavy metals (cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn)) in Taizhou, East China, samples of moss ( [...] Read more.
Bryophytes act as bioindicators and bioaccumulators of metal deposition in the environment. To understand the atmospheric deposition of heavy metals (cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn)) in Taizhou, East China, samples of moss (Haplocladium microphyllum) were collected from 60 sites selected by a systematic sampling method during the summer of 2012, and the concentrations of these heavy metals were determined by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). The results suggested that the concentrations of these metals varied moderately among different sites, indicating a similar contamination level for each element throughout the monitoring region. The mean values under investigation were higher than those from neighboring cities, such as Wuxi, Xuzhou, and Nanjing, and much higher than those in Europe based on a 2010 survey. Significant (p < 0.01) correlations were identified among some of the heavy metals, suggesting that these originated from identical sources. There was no statistically significant correlation between Hg and all the other elements. Spatial distribution maps of the elements over the sampled territory were created using Arc-GIS 9.0. The potential ecological risk index indicated that the air was heavily polluted by Cd and Hg, and that there was a considerable potential ecological risk from all the heavy metals studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Screening for Cd-Safe Cultivars of Chinese Cabbage and a Preliminary Study on the Mechanisms of Cd Accumulation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14040395
Received: 16 February 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 7 April 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (979 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the rapid progress of industrialization, the effects of environmental contamination on plant toxicity, and subsequently on human health, is a growing concern. For example, the heavy metal pollution of soil such as that caused by cadmium (Cd) is a serious threat. Therefore, [...] Read more.
With the rapid progress of industrialization, the effects of environmental contamination on plant toxicity, and subsequently on human health, is a growing concern. For example, the heavy metal pollution of soil such as that caused by cadmium (Cd) is a serious threat. Therefore, screening for pollution-safe edible plants is an essential approach for growing plants under heavy metal-contaminated soils. In the current study, 35 Chinese cabbage (Brassica pekinensis L.) cultivars were selected with the aim of screening for Cd-safe cultivars (CSCs), analyzing their safety, and exploring the mechanism of Cd accumulation. Our field-culture experiments revealed that the Cd content in the edible parts of the cultivars were varied and were determined to possibly be CSCs. Hydroponics experiments were used to simulate six different degrees of soil contamination (high and low Cd concentrations) on possible CSCs. The results indicated a significant difference (p < 0.05) in Cd concentration in the cultivars, and verified the safety of these possible CSCs. The analyses of the transport coefficient and expression levels showed that the differences in Cd accumulation among the Chinese cabbage cultivars were related to the expression of genes involved in absorption and transport rather than a root-to-shoot translocation limitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Study of the Accumulation of Toxic and Essential Ultra-Trace Elements in Fruits of Sorbus domestica L.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14040341
Received: 23 December 2016 / Revised: 18 March 2017 / Accepted: 22 March 2017 / Published: 24 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (306 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the present work, the accumulation of selected toxic and essential ultra-trace elements in fruits of service tree (Sorbus domestica L.) were determined depending on harvest time. Samples were collected from the same sampling area in two different years and within one [...] Read more.
In the present work, the accumulation of selected toxic and essential ultra-trace elements in fruits of service tree (Sorbus domestica L.) were determined depending on harvest time. Samples were collected from the same sampling area in two different years and within one year in September and October (maturity state). Harvesting the fruits in the same area excludes the influence of metals taken up via roots, thus the impact of airborne contamination by heavy metal translocation can be studied. All samples were dried and digested using an acidic microwave assisted digestion system prior to quantification by inductively coupled plasma—sector field mass spectrometry (ICP–SFMS). The elements chosen were Arsenic and Cadmium as well as Lithium, Molybdenum, and Selenium. The Arsenic content rose with maturity in mesocarp. Cadmium found in the mesocarp was unaffected by ripeness. For Selenium and Molybdenum, no statistically significant effect of ripeness could be found on their content in mesocarp. Lithium could not be detected in the majority of fruit samples. Differences between the metal concentrations based on the year of harvest were found for Arsenic, Molybdenum, and Selenium, depending on precipitation. The drier the season, the more Arsenic was accumulated. For Molybdenum and Selenium, the opposite effect was observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle
Impacts from Land Use Pattern on Spatial Distribution of Cultivated Soil Heavy Metal Pollution in Typical Rural-Urban Fringe of Northeast China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030336
Received: 4 January 2017 / Revised: 5 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 22 March 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2355 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Under rapid urban sprawl in Northeast China, land conversions are not only encroaching on the quantity of cultivated lands, but also posing a great threat to black soil conservation and food security. This study’s aim is to explore the spatial relationship between comprehensive [...] Read more.
Under rapid urban sprawl in Northeast China, land conversions are not only encroaching on the quantity of cultivated lands, but also posing a great threat to black soil conservation and food security. This study’s aim is to explore the spatial relationship between comprehensive cultivated soil heavy metal pollution and peri-urban land use patterns in the black soil region. We applied spatial lag regression to analyze the relationship between PLI (pollution load index) and influencing factors of land use by taking suburban cultivated land of Changchun Kuancheng District as an empirical case. The results indicate the following: (1) Similar spatial distribution characteristics are detected between Pb, Cu, and Zn, between Cr and Ni, and between Hg and Cd. The Yitong River catchment in the central region, and the residential community of Lanjia County in the west, are the main hotspots for eight heavy metals and PLI. Beihu Wetland Park, with a larger-area distribution of ecological land in the southeast, has low level for both heavy metal concentrations and PLI values. Spatial distribution characteristics of cultivated heavy metals are related to types of surrounding land use and industry; (2) Spatial lag regression has a better fit for PLI than the ordinary least squares regression. The regression results indicate the inverse relationship between heavy metal pollution degree and distance from long-standing residential land and surface water. Following rapid urban land expansion and a longer accumulation period, residential land sprawl is going to threaten cultivated land with heavy metal pollution in the suburban black soil region, and cultivated land irrigated with urban river water in the suburbs will have a higher tendency for heavy metal pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Metal Exposure and Associated Health Risk to Human Beings by Street Dust in a Heavily Industrialized City of Hunan Province, Central China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030261
Received: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 3 March 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1082 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fifty-five urban street dust samples were collected from Zhuzhou, an industrial city in central China and analyzed for a range of toxic elements. Potential carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health effects on children and adults due to exposure to street dust were assessed. Concerning the [...] Read more.
Fifty-five urban street dust samples were collected from Zhuzhou, an industrial city in central China and analyzed for a range of toxic elements. Potential carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health effects on children and adults due to exposure to street dust were assessed. Concerning the two subgroups, the child cohort is confronted with considerably greater health risks than adults. According to the Hazard Quotient (HQ) method, ingestion of dust particles poses primary risk to children and adults, followed by dermal contact and inhalation for all of the metals investigated except Hg, for which inhalation of its elemental vapor constitute a slightly higher risk than ingestion. For children, Pb, As, Cd, Cr, Hg and Sb exposure were deemed as the highest contributors to non-cancer health risks, while As and Cr represent an enhanced cancer risk for children. For adults, risk indicator values for both cancer and non-cancer effects obtained were within the safety threshold. In a comparison with other locations within and outside mainland China, exposure to arsenic is prominent for the population of Zhuzhou, indicating more attention and preventive actions should been taken. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Critical Windows of Prenatal Exposure to Cadmium and Size at Birth
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010058
Received: 30 October 2016 / Revised: 9 December 2016 / Accepted: 14 December 2016 / Published: 9 January 2017
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (302 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Prenatal cadmium (Cd) exposure has been associated with adverse birth outcomes, but the findings of previous studies are inconsistent. We measured Cd concentrations in urine samples at or near 13, 24, and 35 gestational weeks from 282 women in Wuhan, China. We used [...] Read more.
Prenatal cadmium (Cd) exposure has been associated with adverse birth outcomes, but the findings of previous studies are inconsistent. We measured Cd concentrations in urine samples at or near 13, 24, and 35 gestational weeks from 282 women in Wuhan, China. We used generalized estimating equation models to assess the associations between maternal creatinine adjusted urinary Cd concentrations at each trimester and birth size. A significant inverse association was observed between higher maternal Cd levels measured during the 1st trimester and birth size in girls. For each log unit increase in Cd (µg/g creatinine) levels from the 1st trimester, there was a decrease in birth weight by 116.99 g (95% confidence interval (CI): −208.87, −25.11 g). The Cd levels from the 1st and 2nd trimesters were also borderline significantly associated with ponderal index in girls. Joint estimation of trimester-specific effects suggested that associations with Cd levels for ponderal index (pint = 0.02) were significantly different across trimesters, and differences for effects across trimesters for birth weight were marginally significant (pint = 0.08) in girls. No significant associations were observed between Cd levels from any trimester and birth size in boys. Maternal Cd exposure during earlier periods of pregnancy may have a larger impact on delayed fetal growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
A Rapid, Accurate, and Efficient Method to Map Heavy Metal-Contaminated Soils of Abandoned Mine Sites Using Converted Portable XRF Data and GIS
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(12), 1191; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13121191
Received: 17 October 2016 / Revised: 22 November 2016 / Accepted: 25 November 2016 / Published: 1 December 2016
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (4816 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) increases the rapidity and accuracy of soil contamination mapping, respectively. In practice, it is often necessary to repeat the soil contamination assessment and mapping procedure several times during [...] Read more.
The use of portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) increases the rapidity and accuracy of soil contamination mapping, respectively. In practice, it is often necessary to repeat the soil contamination assessment and mapping procedure several times during soil management within a limited budget. In this study, we have developed a rapid, inexpensive, and accurate soil contamination mapping method using a PXRF data and geostatistical spatial interpolation. To obtain a large quantity of high quality data for interpolation, in situ PXRF data analyzed at 40 points were transformed to converted PXRF data using the correlation between PXRF and ICP-AES data. The method was applied to an abandoned mine site in Korea to generate a soil contamination map for copper and was validated for investigation speed and prediction accuracy. As a result, regions that required soil remediation were identified. Our method significantly shortened the time required for mapping compared to the conventional mapping method and provided copper concentration estimates with high accuracy similar to those measured by ICP-AES. Therefore, our method is an effective way of mapping soil contamination if we consistently construct a database based on the correlation between PXRF and ICP-AES data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Heavy Metal Pollution in Settled Dust Associated with Different Urban Functional Areas in a Heavily Air-Polluted City in North China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13111119
Received: 9 September 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (2561 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding variations of heavy metals in atmospheric particles between different functional areas is significant for pollution control and urban planning in cities. To reveal pollution and spatial distribution of heavy metals in atmospheric particles from different urban functional areas in Shijiazhuang in North [...] Read more.
Understanding variations of heavy metals in atmospheric particles between different functional areas is significant for pollution control and urban planning in cities. To reveal pollution and spatial distribution of heavy metals in atmospheric particles from different urban functional areas in Shijiazhuang in North China, 43 settled dust samples were collected over the main urban area and heavy metal concentrations were determined in their <63 μm fractions using an ICP-OES. The results suggest that Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, and V in the dust are not or slightly enriched and their concentrations vary slightly between different sites, implying their natural origins; whereas Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb are often notably enriched and their concentrations vary significantly between different functional areas, indicating their anthropogenic sources. Integrated pollution indexes (IPIs) of the ten heavy metals are 2.7–13.6 (5.7 ± 2.2), suggesting high or very high pollution levels of most dust. Relatively lower IPIs occur mainly in the administration-education area, the commercial area, and other unclassified sites; while peaks occur mainly in the North Railway Station, the northeastern industrial area, and some sites near heavily trafficked areas, implying the significant influence of intensive industrial (including coal combustion) and traffic activities on atmospheric heavy metal accumulation. These results suggest a clear need of mitigating atmospheric heavy metal pollution via controlling emissions of toxic metals (especially Cd and Pb) from industrial and traffic sources in the city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Arsenic and Heavy Metal Contamination in Soils under Different Land Use in an Estuary in Northern Vietnam
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1091; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13111091
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 30 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 5 November 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2760 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heavy metal contamination of soil and sediment in estuaries warrants study because a healthy estuarine environment, including healthy soil, is important in order to achieve ecological balance and good aquaculture production. The Ba Lat estuary of the Red River is the largest estuary [...] Read more.
Heavy metal contamination of soil and sediment in estuaries warrants study because a healthy estuarine environment, including healthy soil, is important in order to achieve ecological balance and good aquaculture production. The Ba Lat estuary of the Red River is the largest estuary in northern Vietnam and is employed in various land uses. However, the heavy metal contamination of its soil has not yet been reported. The following research was conducted to clarify contamination levels, supply sources, and the effect of land use on heavy metal concentrations in the estuary. Soil samples were collected from the top soil layer of the estuary, and their arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) concentrations were analyzed, as were other soil properties. Most soils in the estuary were loam, silt loam, or sandy loam. The pH was neutral, and the cation exchange capacity ranged from 3.8 to 20 cmol·kg−1. Manganese and iron concentrations averaged 811 µg·g−1 and 1.79%, respectively. The magnitude of the soil heavy metal concentrations decreased in the order of Zn > Pb > Cr > Cu > As > Cd. The concentrations were higher in the riverbed and mangrove forest than in other land-use areas. Except for As, the mean heavy metal concentrations were lower than the permissible levels for agricultural soils in Vietnam. The principal component analyses suggested that soil As, Pb, Zn, Cd, and Cu were of anthropogenic origin, whereas Cr was of non-anthropogenic origin. The spatial distribution of concentration with land use indicated that mangrove forests play an important role in preventing the spread of heavy metals to other land uses and in maintaining the estuarine environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Cellular Mutagenicity and Heavy Metal Concentrations of Leachates Extracted from the Fly and Bottom Ash Derived from Municipal Solid Waste Incineration
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1078; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13111078
Received: 14 August 2016 / Revised: 14 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (277 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Two incinerators in Taiwan have recently attempted to reuse the fly and bottom ash that they produce, but the mutagenicity of these types of ash has not yet been assessed. Therefore, we evaluated the mutagenicity of the ash with the Ames mutagenicity assay [...] Read more.
Two incinerators in Taiwan have recently attempted to reuse the fly and bottom ash that they produce, but the mutagenicity of these types of ash has not yet been assessed. Therefore, we evaluated the mutagenicity of the ash with the Ames mutagenicity assay using the TA98, TA100, and TA1535 bacterial strains. We obtained three leachates from three leachants of varying pH values using the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure test recommended by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency (Taiwan EPA). We then performed the Ames assay on the harvested leachates. To evaluate the possible relationship between the presence of heavy metals and mutagenicity, the concentrations of five heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, and Zn) in the leachates were also determined. The concentrations of Cd and Cr in the most acidic leachate from the precipitator fly ash and the Cd concentration in the most acidic leachate from the boiler fly ash exceeded the recommended limits. Notably, none of the nine leachates extracted from the boiler, precipitator, or bottom ashes displayed mutagenic activity. This data partially affirms the safety of the fly and bottom ash produced by certain incinerators. Therefore, the biotoxicity of leachates from recycled ash should be routinely monitored before reusing the ash. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)

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Open AccessReview
A New Strategy for Heavy Metal Polluted Environments: A Review of Microbial Biosorbents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010094
Received: 20 October 2016 / Revised: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 19 January 2017
Cited by 105 | PDF Full-text (599 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Persistent heavy metal pollution poses a major threat to all life forms in the environment due to its toxic effects. These metals are very reactive at low concentrations and can accumulate in the food web, causing severe public health concerns. Remediation using conventional [...] Read more.
Persistent heavy metal pollution poses a major threat to all life forms in the environment due to its toxic effects. These metals are very reactive at low concentrations and can accumulate in the food web, causing severe public health concerns. Remediation using conventional physical and chemical methods is uneconomical and generates large volumes of chemical waste. Bioremediation of hazardous metals has received considerable and growing interest over the years. The use of microbial biosorbents is eco-friendly and cost effective; hence, it is an efficient alternative for the remediation of heavy metal contaminated environments. Microbes have various mechanisms of metal sequestration that hold greater metal biosorption capacities. The goal of microbial biosorption is to remove and/or recover metals and metalloids from solutions, using living or dead biomass and their components. This review discusses the sources of toxic heavy metals and describes the groups of microorganisms with biosorbent potential for heavy metal removal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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