Contamination and health risks from heavy metals in cultivated soil in Zhangjiakou City of Hebei Province, China

  • Qian Liang
  • Zhan-Jun Xue
  • Fei Wang
  • Zhi-Mei Sun
  • Zhi-Xin Yang
  • Shu-Qing Liu


A total of 79 topsoil samples (ranging from 0 to 20 cm in depth) were collected from a grape cultivation area of Zhangjiakou City, China. The total concentrations of As, Cd, Hg, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn in soil samples were determined to evaluate pollution levels and associated health risks in each sample. Pollution levels were calculated using enrichment factors (EF) and geoaccumulation index (I geo). Health risks for adults and children were quantified using hazard indexes (HI) and aggregate carcinogenic risks (ACR). The mean concentrations of measured heavy metals Cd, Hg, and Cu, only in the grape cultivation soil samples, were higher than the background values of heavy metals in Hebei Province. According to principal component analysis (PCA), the anthropogenic activities related to agronomic and fossil fuel combustion practices attributed to higher accumulations of Cd, Hg, and Cu, which have slightly polluted about 10–40 % of the sampled soils. However, the HI for all of the heavy metals were lower than 1 (within safe limits), and the ACR of As was in the 10−6–10−4 range (a tolerable level). This suggests the absence of both non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic health risks for adults and children through oral ingestion and dermal absorption exposure pathways in the studied area. It should be also noted that the heightened vulnerability of children to health risks was accounted for higher HI and ACR values. Consequently, heavy metal concentrations (e.g., Cd, Hg, Cu) should be periodically monitored in these soils and improved soil management practices are required to minimize possible impacts on children’s health.


Geoaccumulation index Principal component analysis Hazard index Carcinogenic risk Vineyard soil 



This research was financially supported by the National Key Technology R&D Program of China (No. 2014BAD14B03; No. 2008BAJ08B13-07). We heartily thank the Key Laboratory of Geoanalysis and Geochronology of Hebei Province for the equipments used to carry out this study, as well as the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestion.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qian Liang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhan-Jun Xue
    • 3
  • Fei Wang
    • 4
  • Zhi-Mei Sun
    • 1
  • Zhi-Xin Yang
    • 1
  • Shu-Qing Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Resource and Environment ScienceAgricultural University of HebeiBaodingChina
  2. 2.Research Center of People’s GovernmentXingtaiChina
  3. 3.College of HorticultureAgricultural University of HebeiBaodingChina
  4. 4.Office of People’s Government of Ren CountyXingtaiChina

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