Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 347–356 | Cite as

Assessment of human health risks from heavy metals in outdoor dust samples in a coal mining area

  • Tofan Kumar Rout
  • R. E. Masto
  • L. C. Ram
  • Joshy George
  • Pratap Kumar Padhy
Original Paper


Jharia (India) a coal mining town has been affected by the consequences of mining and associated activities. Samples of outdoor fallen dust were collected at different locations of Jharia covering four different zones: commercial, petrol pump, high traffic, and residential areas. The dust samples were analysed for different trace elements (As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Se, and Zn). The highest concentration of the elements in the dust samples are Mn (658 mg/kg), Zn (163.6 mg/kg), Cr (75.4 mg/kg), Pb (67.8 mg/kg), Ni (66 mg/kg), Cu (56.8 mg/kg), Co (16.9 mg/kg), As (4.1 mg/kg), and Cd (0.78 mg/kg). The concentration of selenium was below detection limit. Except Cd, contents of all the other elements in the dust samples were significantly lower in the residential area. High amount of Ni (145 mg/kg) and Pb (102 mg/kg) was observed in the high traffic and petrol pump areas, respectively. The exposure risk assessment strategies are helpful in predicting the potential health risk of the trace elements in the street dust. Selected receptors for risk assessment were infants, toddlers, children, teens, and adults. The calculated hazard quotient (HQ) for lifetime exposure was <1.0 for all the elements studied, indicating no risks from these elements for adults Among the receptors, toddlers were found to be more vulnerable, with HQ for Co, Cr, and Pb > 0.1. The finding predicts potential health risk to toddlers and children.


Coal mining Dust Exposure risk Human health Heavy metals 



We express our thanks to the Director of the CSIR-Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research, Dhanbad, India, for providing support in publishing this study. The funding for this study provided through the Network Project NWP-0017 (11th Five Year Plan), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, is greatly acknowledged. We are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for much help in improving the manuscript. The support of Mr. James for his comment on this manuscript and English editing is acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tofan Kumar Rout
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. E. Masto
    • 1
  • L. C. Ram
    • 1
  • Joshy George
    • 1
  • Pratap Kumar Padhy
    • 2
  1. 1.Environmental Management DivisionCSIR-Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (Digwadih Campus)DhanbadIndia
  2. 2.CSIR-Centre for Environmental Studies, Siksha-BhavanaVisva-Bharati, SantiniketanWest BengalIndia

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