Comparisons of human risk assessment models for heavy metal contamination within abandoned metal mine areas in Korea

Original Paper
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Abstract

This study was initiated to develop a model specialized to conduct human risk assessments (HRAs) of abandoned metal mine areas in Korea. The Korean guideline (KG) model used in study was formulated via modification of the original Korean guidelines on HRAs of soil contamination. In addition, the newly developed model was applied to the HRAs of two abandoned metal mines contaminated with arsenic (As) and heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn). The results of the KG model were compared with those of two internationally renowned models [Contaminated land exposure assessment (CLEA) and CSOIL models]. The HRA results of the three models indicated that the areas of concern were unsafe when it came to both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic hazards. Furthermore, the hazards in both areas were mostly attributed to As and the predominant exposure pathways were identified as crop intake in the KG model and surface soil dermal contact in CLEA and CSOIL models. Accordingly, measures to protect against As exposure should be established immediately to prevent adverse health effects on inhabitants in these areas. A comparison of HRA results revealed significant differences between KG, CLEA, and CSOIL models due to the various types of exposure pathways, contaminants, and input data, such as exposure factors and receptor parameters. This study suggests that set-up of an exposure scenario is crucial for the successful performance of HRAs, and the most relevant HRA model should be deliberately selected to attain risk assessment goals.

Keywords

Human risk assessment Abandoned mine Heavy metal contamination Carcinogenic risk Non-carcinogenic risk Remediation level 

List of symbols

ABSD

Dermal absorption coefficient

ABSGI

Gastrointestinal absorption coefficient

ABSinh

Inhalation absorption coefficient

ADD

Average daily dose

Aexp

Exposed surface area (m2)

AF

Soil-skim adsorption coefficient

AID

Daily intake amount soil (kg/day)

Askin

Exposed skin area (m2)

AT

Average time

AV

Breathing volume (m3/day)

BCF

Soil-crop bio-concentration factor

BW

Body weight

Cdw

Drinking-water concentration (mg/dm3/day)

CF

Soil to plant concentration factor for each produce group (mg g−1 fw/mg g−1 dw)

CF1

Conversion factor 1

CF2

Conversion factor 2

CLEA

Contaminated land exposure assessment

Cpr

Content of the root crop (mg/kgdry)

Cps

Content of the leafy crop (mg/kgdry)

CR

Carcinogenic risk

CRf

Food consumption rate per unit body weight for each produce group (g fw kg−1 bw day−1)

CRp

Intake rate of crop (kg/day)

CRs

Intake ration of soil (mg/day)

CRw

Intake rate of groundwater (mg/L)

Cs

Exposure concentration of surface soil (mg/kg)

Csw

Exposure concentration of surface water (mg/L)

Cw

Exposure concentration of groundwater (mg/L)

DAE

Degree of coverage (mg/cm2)

DERFA

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK

EA

Environment Agency, UK

ECR

Excessive cancer risk

ED

Exposure duration

EF

Exposure frequency

Fa

Absorption factor

fm

Matrix factor

Fr

Retention of soil particles

frs

Fraction of soil in suspended particles in air

fv

Fraction contaminated food

HF

Homegrown fraction for each produce group

HI

Hazard index

HQ

Hazard quotient

HRA

Human risk assessment

IRIS

Integrated risk information system

KG

Korean guideline

KMOE

Korean Ministry of Environment

n

Number of daily soil contact events (day−1)

NCR

Non-carcinogenic risk

PEF

Particulate emission factor (m3/kg)

Qdw

Daily drinking-water intake (m3/day)

Qfvb

Daily consumption of leafy crops (kgdry/day)

Qfvk

Daily consumption of root crops (kgdry/day)

RfC

Inhalation reference dose (mg/m3)

RfDabs

Dermal reference dose (mg/kg-day)

RfDo

Oral reference dose (mg/kg-day)

SAe

Surface area of soil

SECA

Soil Environment Conservation Act, Korea

SFabs

Dermal slope factor [(mg/kg-day)−1]

SFo

Oral slope factor [(mg/kg-day)−1]

Sing

Direct soil and dust ingestion rate (g/day)

t

Duration of exposure (h)

TCR

Total excessive cancer risk

tf

Time fraction exposure

Thw

Water-skin adsorption thickness

Tsite

Outdoor site occupancy period (h/day)

TSP

Amount of suspended particles in air(mg/m3)

URFinh

Inhalation unit risk {(μg/m3)−1}

Vinh

Daily inhalation rate (m3/day)

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea funded by the Korean Ministry of Education (Grant Number 2015R1D1A1A01057566).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology and Research Institute of Natural Science (RINS)Gyeongsang National UniversityJinjuRepublic of Korea

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