Ecological and human health risk assessment of toxic metals in street dusts and surface soils in Ahvaz, Iran

  • Navid Ghanavati
  • Ahad NazarpourEmail author
  • Benedetto De Vivo
Original Paper


This study aimed to examine the concentrations and environmental health risk of the potentially toxic metals including Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd, Cr, and As in street dusts and surface soils of Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan province, located in the southwest of Iran. To this end, a total of 81 street dusts and 96 surface soils were collected from Ahvaz urban areas. Toxic metals were measured by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry and evaluated using enrichment factors, potential ecological risk index and human health risk assessment. Lead in street dusts and Pb and Cu in surface soil showed the highest enrichment factor. The results revealed that there are two major sources of toxic metals in Ahvaz, including industrial activities and road traffic emissions and also resuspension of soil and dust particles. Cu, Pb, Zn, and Cr in Ahvaz soil and dust particles are strongly influenced by anthropogenic activity, mainly industrial and traffic emissions, while As and Co originate from resuspension of soil natural parent particles. The potential ecological risk index (RI) values for dust samples indicated that 58.02% of all samples showed low potential ecological risk. Moreover, 33% and 9% of samples showed moderate and considerable ecological risk, respectively. In addition, the RI values for soil samples indicated that 57% and 40% of all samples had low and moderate ecological risk, respectively, and 3% had a high ecological risk. The hazard index (HI) values of studied potentially toxic metals showed that there is no non-carcinogenic risk for children and adults. Furthermore, the HI value for children was 2–7 times upper than those for adults, which confirm that children show more potential health risks for exposition to these potential toxic metals. Cancer risks of the studied potential toxic elements for both adults and children decreased in the following order Crdust > Crsoil > Cddust > Cdsoil > Asdust > Assoil > Pbdust > Pbsoil. The carcinogenic risk values of Cd, As, and Pb for adults and children was lower than 1 × 10−6, suggesting carcinogenic risk of potentially toxic metals in the street dust and surface soil could be neglected. On the other hand, the carcinogenic risk value of Cr was greater than 1 × 10−6 for both adults and children revealing that the carcinogenic risks of Cr essentially need more consideration for environmental management control.


Potentially toxic metals Ecological risk Human health risk Street dust Surface soil Ahvaz Iran 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Navid Ghanavati
    • 1
  • Ahad Nazarpour
    • 2
  • Benedetto De Vivo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Soil Science, Ahvaz BranchIslamic Azad UniversityAhvazIran
  2. 2.Department of Geology, Ahvaz BranchIslamic Azad UniversityAhvazIran
  3. 3.Pegaso University & Benecon ScarlNaplesItaly

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