Date: 17 Dec 2009

Cd, Pb and Zn Oral Bioaccessibility of Urban Soils Contaminated in the Past by Atmospheric Emissions from Two Lead and Zinc Smelters

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Ingestion of dust or soil particles could pose a potential health risk due to long-term metal trace element (MTE) exposure. Twenty-seven urban topsoil samples (kitchen garden and lawn) were collected and analyzed for Cd, Pb and Zn using the unified Bioaccessibility Research Group of Europe (BARGE) method (UBM) test to estimate the human bioaccessibility of these elements. The quantities of Cd, Pb and Zn extracted from soils indicated, on average, 68, 62 and 47% bioaccessibility, respectively, in the gastric phase and 31, 32 and 23% bioaccessibility, respectively, in the gastro-intestinal phase. Significant positive correlations were observed between concentrations extracted with UBM and total MTE contents. Stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that human bioaccessibility was also affected by some physico-chemical soil parameters (i.e. total nitrogen, carbonates, clay contents and pH). The unified test presents some valuable data for risk assessment. Indeed, the incorporation of oral bioaccessible concentrations into risk estimations could give more realistic information for health risk assessment.