Health risks from PAHs and potentially toxic elements in street dust of a coal mining area in India

  • R. E. MastoEmail author
  • M. K. Singh
  • T. K. Rout
  • A. Kumar
  • S. Kumar
  • J. George
  • V. A. Selvi
  • P. Dutta
  • R. C. Tripathi
  • N. K. Srivastava
Original Paper


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and potentially toxic elements (PTEs) (Ba, Zn, Pb, Cu, Cr, Ni, As, Co) were determined in the road dusts of a coal mining area (Dhanbad, India) to assess their content and potential human health risks. Dust samples were collected from sign boards of the heavy traffic road connecting Dhanbad and Sindri. The total PAHs (∑PAHs, all values in mg/kg) content in the road dust samples varied from 3.98 to 13.1, with carcinogenic PAHs content of 14.8–34.4% of the ∑PAHs. Phenanthrene (2.72), fluorene (0.715) and pyrene (0.575) are the major PAHs. Principal component analysis revealed that these PAHs are probably originated from pyrogenic (coal combustion and traffic emission) and petrogenic (coal dust, tyre and road particles) sources. Among the PTEs, the mean content was higher for Ba (293 mg/kg) followed by Zn (224), Pb (128), Cu (52.6), Cr (45.2), Ni (22.0), As (17.5) and Co (8.11). The overall pollution load index varied from 0.43 to 1.0. Source analysis showed that PTEs in the road dust of the study site were derived from traffic emission (Zn, Fe, Mn, Co and Pb), coal dust (Cr, As and Ni) and soil (K, Mg, Ba, Sr and Ca). In general, the PTEs are lower, but the PAHs contents were elevated in the road dust samples. Although the exposure risks from PTEs are low, the risk to children (expressed as hazardous quotient) for As and Pb is near to the permissible limit of 1.0. Cancer risk from PAHs for adult (4.8 × 10−6) and child (5.3 × 10−6) has exceeded the acceptable limit of 10−6.


Street dust Coal Mining PAH Potentially toxic element Exposure risk India 



We express our thanks to the Director of the CSIR-Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR), Dhanbad, India, for supporting this publication. The financial support availed from the in-house project (MLP033 of CSIR–CIMFR) is greatly acknowledged.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Industrial Biotechnology and Waste Utilization Research GroupCSIR-Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (Digwadih Campus)DhanbadIndia
  2. 2.Sophisticated Analytical Instrument FacilityCSIR-Central Drug Research InstituteLucknowIndia
  3. 3.Environmental Technology DivisionCSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and TechnologyThiruvananthapuramIndia

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