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Assessing risk of heavy metals from consuming food grown on sewage irrigated soils and food chain transfer

Heavy metal pollution of soils resulting from sewage and wastewater irrigation is causing major concern due to the potential risk involved. In the present study Musi River and its environs were assessed for heavy metal contamination. The study area was assessed for Zn, Cr, Cu, Ni, Co and Pb in soils, forage grass, milk from cattle, leafy and non-leafy vegetables. Partitioning pattern of soil revealed high levels of Zn, Cr, and Cu associated with labile fractions, making them more mobile and plant available. The associated risk was assessed using hazard quotient (HQ). Human risk was assessed in people known to consume these contaminated foods by analyzing metals concentrations in venous blood and urine. Results showed high amounts of Pb, Zn, Cr, and Ni compared to permissible limits. HQ was found to be high for Zn followed by Cr and Pb with special reference to leafy vegetables particularly spinach and amaranthus.

Published on 11-10-2008
Authors: N. Sridhara Charya, C.T. Kamalaa and D. Samuel Suman Rajb