Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 2021–2035 | Cite as

Chemical characterization and health risk assessment of soil and airborne particulates metals and metalloids in populated semiarid region, Agra, India

  • Rahat Parveen
  • Renuka Saini
  • Ajay TanejaEmail author
Original Paper


Rapid industrialization and urbanization have contaminated air and soil by heavy metals and metalloids from biogenic, geogenic and anthropogenic sources in many areas of the world, either directly or indirectly. A case study was conducted in three different microenvironments, i.e., residential sites, official sites and official sites; for each sites, we choose two different locations to examine the elemental concentration in fine particulate matter and soil and health risk assessment. The concentration values of heavy metals and metalloid in the air and soil in the Agra region were measured using inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrophotometry. The exposure factor and health risk assessment for carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic effects due to heavy metals and metalloid contaminants have been calculated for both children and adults by following the methodology prescribed by USEPA. For the elements As, Cr, Cd, Ni and Pb selected for the carcinogenic health risk assessment, the calculated results lie above the threshold ranges. We observed the lifetime exposure to heavy metals through mainly three pathways, ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact of soil and air from that particular area. Therefore, the overall hazard quotient (HQ) values for children are more than that of adults. The assessment of health risk signifies that there were mainly three exposure pathways for people: ingested, dermal contact and inhalation. The major exposure pathway of heavy metals to both children and adults is ingestion. The values of HQ are higher than the safe level (=1), indicating a high risk exists in present condition. Meanwhile, HQs value for children is higher than that for adults, indicating that children have higher potential health risk than adults in this region.


Carcinogenic effects Metals and metalloid Health risk assessment Hazard quotient Exposure pathway 



The authors acknowledge the University Grant Commission (UGC) New Delhi for funding (Project No.: F. 15-45/12 (SA-II) and MRP-Major—Chem-2013-25775). The authors would like to express their special gratitude to Department of Chemistry, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra, India, for providing all necessary facilities required for this work. We would also like to thank to the owners and occupants of the houses for their help and in assistance while conducting this work.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryDr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar UniversityAgraIndia

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