Heavy metals pollution assessment and its associated human health risk evaluation of urban soils from Indian cities: a review

  • Narsimha AdimallaEmail author
Original Paper


Urban soils of 32 Indian cities were collected from literature-based data for the period of 2001–2019 to measure the contamination levels of six heavy metals including arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni), and lead (Pb) and also evaluated the potential human health risk for adults and children. The results indicated that concentrations of six heavy metals in the urban soils were much higher than both geochemical background values (Grade-I) and also Canadian soil quality guideline values (Grade-II) in most of the cities in India. Higher concentration of Cr and Ni was in cities mainly located in southern (Karnataka), northern (Uttar Pradesh), and eastern (Odisha); As and Pb primarily in central (Telangana), while Zn and Cu largely in western (Maharashtra) and eastern (Jharkhand) states of India, respectively. The index of geo-accumulation (Igeo) values varied largely and showed moderately polluted to extremely polluted levels, possibly caused/influenced by anthropogenic activity in the urban regions in India. The non-carcinogenic health risk due to Cu, Zn, Ni, and Pb in most urban regions was lower than the threshold value (HI < 1), indicating no non-carcinogenic health risk for adults and children. As and Cr on children, non-carcinogenic risk was very higher than that of adults, and their risk values were also exceeded the threshold value, indicating that As and Cr in the urban soils posed considerable non-carcinogenic health risks on urban residents. The total carcinogenic/cancer risk due to Pb in most urban regions was lower than the recommended limit of 1.00E−04, while Cr and As have shown potential cancer risk for both adults and children. Therefore, As and Cr are the sole heavy metals that cause potential health risk in an urban region residents in India, which needs to be paid more attention and also controlling measures should be initiated.


Urban soils Heavy metals Pollution levels Health risks India 



The author is indebted to the Department of Science and Technology (DST)-Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), New Delhi, for grants under the Fast Track Young Scientist project no. SR/FTP/ES-13/2013. Editor and the reviewers are gratefully acknowledged for their constructive comments helped to improve the quality of manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 7536 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringChang’an UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Subsurface Hydrology and Ecological Effects in Arid Region of the Ministry of EducationChang’an UniversityXi’anChina

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