Source identification, environmental risk assessment and human health risks associated with toxic elements present in a coastal industrial environment, India
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This study investigated the source and contamination levels of toxic elements (Cd, Cr, As, Pb, Ni and Hg) present in a coastal environment, Paradip—an industrial hub of the east coast of India. The ecological risk assessment indices and human exposure models were used to evaluate the pollution status. Enrichment factor indicated that all the metal(loid)s found in the sediment are mostly derived from the anthropogenic source. According to the sediment quality quotient, 8.33% of sediments have crossed the ERM limit for Ni that can be fatal to biota. Meanwhile, 66.66, 41.66 and 8.33% of sediments have exceeded PEL range for Cr, Ni and As, respectively, that can register frequent lethal toxicity to benthic biota. As had the highest potential ecological harm coefficient (Erf > 80), and Hg had moderate ecological harm coefficient (40 < Erf < 80). Summarily, the sediment quality of this site is moderate to heavily toxic to benthic organisms. The concentration of toxic metals in seawater was below the permissible limit (CCC and CMC) set by USEPA indicating that water is relatively safer for free floating aquatic biota. The health risk index of toxic metal (loid)s present in soils of the residential sites has confirmed that there is a severe non-carcinogenic threat for children (HI child > 1) and a borderline carcinogenic risk for both adult and children. THQCr possesses highest non-carcinogenic threat, which contributed approximately 50% to HI followed by THQAs. The contribution of carcinogenic risk of chromium (CRCr) to TCR is approximately 60%. Cr is the significant contaminant of this site that has highest health effects. Highest exposure risks were associated with ingestion pathway accounting for about 85% of the total for most of the elements.
KeywordsToxic metal ions Pollution index Ecological risk assessment Carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic threat Sediment quality guidelines Hazard quotient
This work was supported by the Ministry of Earth Science (MoES), Govt of India, under the Project No. GAP-004. Thanks to the COMAPS team members for their cooperation in data preparation and sampling. Further gratitude is extended to two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions in modification of the manuscript.
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