Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 22, pp 22443–22453 | Cite as

Bioavailability evaluation, uptake of heavy metals and potential health risks via dietary exposure in urban-industrial areas

  • Balal Yousaf
  • Guijian Liu
  • Ruwei Wang
  • Muhammad Imtiaz
  • Muhammad Zia-ur-Rehman
  • Mehr Ahmed Mujtaba Munir
  • Zhiyuan Niu
Research Article


A verity of human activities i.e. urbanization and industrialization have been resulted serious environmental contaminations by heavy metals in all over the world. The settlement of populations in urban and nearby industrial areas for economic development has significant share in their exposure to these metallic contaminants. Depending on the nature and type of the pollutants, targeted urban-industrial environments can have harmful and chronic health risk impacts on exposed local inhabitants and may require detoxification, healing and remedial therapy. Consequently, environmental monitoring as well as human health risk assessments of urban environments under industrial influence are key dominant features. We believe this work will provide new insights into the studies of metals exposure and associated health risks in emerging industrials cities of developing countries. Present study aimed to study the bioavailability of metals, quantify the changeability in soil and vegetable metal concentrations and estimation of human health risks via dietary exposure, focusing on urban-industrial environment. Soil and vegetable samples were collected in six random sites within the urban, periurban and industrial areas and analyzed for metal concentrations. In addition, risk assessment model proposed by US-EPA was employed to estimate the potential health risk of heavy metals via dietary intake. Results indicated that the heavy metal concentrations were noteworthy in periurban and urban-industrial areas. However, contamination levels varied with the type of vegetable, and the point source pollution such as traffic, urban wastes and industrial effluent. According to the estimated THQ and HI values for non-carcinogenic risk, little or no negative impact of heavy metals was observed on local inhabitants. However, the concentrations of Cr, Cd, Pb and Ni were nearly closed to the permissible limits described by US-EPA in urban-industrial areas. Conclusively, some efficient remedial strategies should be focus to overcome the increasing levels of Cr, Cd, Pb and Ni in this study area to protect the health of local inhabitants.


Bioavailability Heavy metals Urban-industrial soils Metal uptake Health risks Dietary intake 



The authors greatly acknowledged the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, 2014CB238903) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41373110) for financial support for this study. The World Academy of Science and Chinese Academy of Science are also greatly acknowledged for CAS-TWAS President fellowship (CAS-TWAS 2014-179). Special thanks to the local community and farmers for their help during sampling. We would also like to thank reviewers for their thoughtful comments and valuable suggestions to improve this manuscript.

Supplementary material

11356_2016_7449_MOESM1_ESM.rtf (6.8 mb)
ESM 1 (RTF 6966 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS-Key Laboratory of Crust-Mantle Materials and the Environments, School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Microelement Research Center, College of Resources and EnvironmentHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Soil, Water and Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, Institute of Soil and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan

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