Contamination and health risk assessment of potentially toxic elements in soils of different kinds of land use in Lithuania

Vaidotas Valskys, Gytautas Ignatavičius, Stanisław Wołkowicz, Jonas Satkūnas, Howlader Rahidul Hassan


Using the case of five different kinds of land use from different territories of Lithuania, this study assesses the level of contamination and human health risk assessment of arsenic (As), and heavy metals (HMs) such as cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn) and chromium (Cr) in the surface soil of the study areas. Geo-accumulation index (Igeo) analysis indicated that heavy Cd contamination occurred in agricultural territory (AT), while for As, no contamination to mild contamination occurred in all territories. For living territory (LT), green territory (GT) and technical territory (TT), Igeo readings for Cu showed no pollution to moderate pollution, while there was no pollution for natural territory (NT) and AT. For AT, there is no contamination from Zn or Cr. By contrast, Igeo values for Zn and Cu represent minimal to no pollution in the remaining territories. As in LT and Cd in AT, two of the HMs discovered, were deemed to be of medium risk, whereas other components fell into the permitted range. Among three different routes to exposure, it was discovered that the ingestion pathway was the main health risk. The Hazard quotient (HQ) and hazard index (HI) values for As, Cd, Cu, Zn, and Cr were lower than the suggested limit (HI = 1), indicating minimal non-carcinogenic risk to inhabitants in the study regions. The carcinogenic risk values for As (1.12E-04 children), Cd (2.20E-04 children), and Cr (2.35E-04 children) in AT pose a risk to children’s health when ingested. The GT’s carcinogenic readings for Cr (1.02 E+00 adult), put adults at risk of developing cancer, whereas As (1.89E-04) and Cr (2.28E-04) in LT put children at risk of cancer and for TT, both adults and children were at risk due to Cr’s higher carcinogenic values (1.93E-04 for adults and 5.21E-04 for children).


Heavy metals, soil, health risk assessment, Lithuania

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