alexa Human Exposure Pathways of Heavy Metals in a Lead-Zinc Mining Area, Jiangsu Province, China


Hair Therapy & Transplantation

Author(s): Jun Bi, Lei Huang

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Heavy metal pollution is becoming a serious issue in developing countries such as China, and the public is increasingly aware of its adverse health impacts in recent years. We assessed the potential health risks in a lead-zinc mining area and attempted to identify the key exposure pathways. We evaluated the spatial distributions of personal exposure using indigenous exposure factors and field monitoring results of water, soil, food, and indoor and outdoor air samples. The risks posed by 10 metals and the contribution of inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact pathways to these risks were estimated. Human hair samples were also analyzed to indicate the exposure level in the human body. Our results show that heavy metal pollution may pose high potential health risks to local residents, especially in the village closest to the mine (V1), mainly due to Pb, Cd and Hg. Correspondingly, the residents in V1 had higher Pb (8.14 mg/kg) levels in hair than those in the other two villages. Most of the estimated risks came from soil, the intake of self-produced vegetables and indoor air inhalation. This study highlights the importance of site-specific multipathway health risk assessments in studying heavy-metal exposures in China.

This article was published in Plos One and referenced in Hair Therapy & Transplantation

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