RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Characterization of soil heavy metal contamination and potential health risk in metropolitan region of northern China.

Soil in metropolitan region suffers great contamination risk due to the rapid urbanization especially in developing countries. Beijing and Tianjin, together with their surrounding regions, form a mega-metropolitan region in northern China. To assess the soil environmental quality, a total of 458 surface soil samples were collected from this area. Concentrations of Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn, As, Cd, and Hg were analyzed and compared to the Chinese environmental quality standards for soil. Multivariate analysis was carried out to identify the possible sources and Geographic Information Systems techniques were applied to visualize the spatial data. It was found that the primary inputs of As were due to pedogenic sources, whereas Hg was mainly of anthropogenic source. Other elements including Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn, and Cd were from both lithogenic and anthropogenic origins. Health risk assessment based on the maximum heavy metal concentration indicated that As derived from sewage irrigation area can result in carcinogenic lifetime risk due to ingestion and/or dermal contact of soil. The potential non-carcinogenic risk for children is significant for Pb and the cumulative effect of multiple metals is of concern for children in the vicinity of mining site. The results increased our knowledge for understanding natural and anthropogenic sources as well as health risk for metals in metropolitan soil.

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