Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 693–704 | Cite as

Spatial distribution and human health risk assessment of mercury in street dust resulting from various land-use in Ahvaz, Iran

  • Ahad Nazarpour
  • Navid Ghanavati
  • Michael J. Watts
Original Paper


Mercury as a toxic element and its associated health hazard has been an important topic of research for urban pollution for many years. In this paper, the spatial distribution, pollution assessment, and health risk associated with Hg in roadside dust 96 street dust samples, representing differing land-uses, have been investigated. Land-uses included residential areas (RA), industrial areas (IA), public gardens (PG), roadside areas (RS), and suburban areas (SA) in the city of Ahvaz, Iran were investigated. Compared with other cities, the concentration of Hg in Ahvaz was considerably higher with a mean value of 2.53 mg kg−1, ranging from 0.02 to 8.75 mg kg−1. Residential areas exhibited higher Hg in street dust than other areas, as demonstrated by spatial mapping illustrating hot spots associated with old urban areas with high residential density, high volume traffic of roadside areas, and industrial districts: including oil-drilling activities, steel smelting-related industries, and small industrial towns around Ahvaz. However, Hg concentrations in street dust near to the public gardens (PG) and suburban areas (SA) were not at elevated levels compared other land-uses investigated in this study. A health risk assessment model of non-carcinogenic effects was evaluated for both children and adults. The HQ values also revealed that the main exposures route for children and adults decreased as follows: vapour > ingestion > dermal contact > inhalation. The hazard index (HI) in each area is less than the safe level (HI ≤ 1) for children and adults, but higher for children. The HI value decreases as the following order: RS > IA > RA > SA > PG, which indicates potentially serious health hazards for children in the study areas.


Mercury Health assessment Street dust Ahvaz Iran 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ahad Nazarpour
    • 1
  • Navid Ghanavati
    • 2
  • Michael J. Watts
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeologyIslamic Azad University, Ahvaz BranchAhvazIran
  2. 2.Department of Soil ScienceIslamic Azad University, Ahvaz BranchAhvazIran
  3. 3.Inorganic GeochemistryCentre for Environmental Geochemistry, British Geological Survey KeyworthKeyworthUK

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