Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 230:212 | Cite as

Assessment of the Pollution Status and Human Health Risk in Soils from an Agricultural Valley in Northwest Mexico

  • Daniela Alvarado-Zambrano
  • Carlos R. Green-RuizEmail author


San Juan de los Planes agricultural valley (SJPV) was studied to determine the pollution of the soils and the source of the pollutants, and revise possible ecological risks and health risks for the inhabitants due to the presence of these elements. On average, the total concentration order was As > Zn > Cu > Co > Cd. A multivariate analysis was made to identify the source of the elements and a correlation analysis to relate the concentrations and soil properties. Seven geochemical indices, two ecotoxicological, and two health risk indices were estimated. The enrichment factor (EF) showed minor or no enrichment, and the geoaccumulation index (Igeo) defined the valley as uncontaminated to moderately contaminated. The contamination factor (Cf), contamination degree (CD), and modified contamination degree (mCD) showed low or moderate contamination. The pollution load index (PLI) and comprehensive pollution index (Pn) indicated that four sites are moderately to seriously polluted with As and Cd. The potential ecological risk factor (Er) classified the area with a low potential, and the potential ecological risk index (RIEc) resulted as low ecological risk for 87% of the sites. The hazard index (HI) revealed that the contents of As and Cd can cause non-carcinogenic health problems and the carcinogenic risk index (RI) showed that As is a potential threat to the inhabitants. Given that the pollution with As and Cd is occurring in only four of the sites and that they were correlated with silt fraction, it can be said that this is related to the agrochemicals and not from the mining activities uphill.


Agriculture soil Soil pollution Human health indices Pollution indices PCA 



Lastly, we acknowledge Imelda Martínez, Daniela Valladolid, and Humberto Bojórquez for their assistance in chemical analyses.


The work was financed by the Programa de Apoyo a Proyectos de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (PAPIIT IN110716) and partially by the Programa de Mejoramiento del Profesorado de la Secretaría de Educación Pública, Red Temática de Colaboración Académica: Contaminación acuática: Niveles y efectos (year 3). The authors thank the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) for providing doctoral scholarship to D. Alvarado-Zambrano.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Posgrado en Ciencias de la TierraUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoHermosilloMexico
  2. 2.Unidad Académica Mazatlán, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y LimnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMazatlánMexico

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