Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 2343–2358 | Cite as

Chemometric evaluation of heavy metal pollutions in Patna region of the Ganges alluvial plain, India: implication for source apportionment and health risk assessment

  • Ningombam Linthoingambi Devi
  • Ishwar Chandra Yadav
Original Paper


While metal pollution and distribution in soil are well documented for many countries, the situation is more serious in developing countries because of the rapid increase in industrialization and urbanization during last decades. Although it is well documented in developed countries, data about substantial metal pollution in Indian soil, especially in eastern Ganges alluvial plain (GAP), are limited. In this study, eight different blocks of Patna district located in eastern GAP were selected to investigate the contamination, accumulation, and sources of metals in surface soil considering different land use types. Additionally, human health risk assessment was estimated to mark the potential carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic effect of metals in soil. The concentration of all metals (except Pb) in soil was below the Indian standard limit of the potential toxic element for agricultural soil. Pb was the most abundant in soil, followed by Zn and Cu, and accounted for 52, 33 and 8% of the total metal. In terms of land use types, roadside soil detected higher concentrations of all metals, followed by park/grassland soil. Principal component analysis results indicated traffic pollution and industrial emissions are the major sources of heavy metals in soil. This was further confirmed by strong inter-correlation of heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Ni, Cu and Pb). Human health risk assessment results indicated ingestion via soil as the primary pathway of heavy metal exposure to both adults and children population. The estimated hazard index was highest for Pb, suggesting significant non-carcinogenic effect to both adults and children population. The children were more prone to the non-carcinogenic effect of Pb than adults. However, relatively low cancer risk value estimated for all metals suggested non-significant carcinogenic risk in the soil.


Metal pollution Carcinogenic Principal component analysis Cluster analysis Traffic pollution Industrial emission 



This study was supported by University Grant Commission (UGC), Government of India (No.F.30-68/2014 (BSR) to NL Devi as Start-Up-Research Grant.

Supplementary material

10653_2018_101_MOESM1_ESM.docx (289 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 288 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Environmental SciencesCentral University of South BiharPatnaIndia
  2. 2.Department of International Environmental and Agricultural Science (IEAS)Tokyo University of Agriculture and TechnologyFuchu, TokyoJapan

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