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Potential harmful elements in coal dust and human health risk assessment near the mining areas in Cherat, Pakistan

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This study was aimed to investigate the potential harmful element (PHE) concentrations in coal dust and evaluate the human risk assessment and health effects near coal mining areas. For this purpose, dust samples were collected near various coal mines in Cherat, Pakistan, and analyzed for the PHE concentrations. Determined PHE concentrations were evaluated for the health risk assessment. Results revealed that ingestion was the major pathway as compared to others for PHE exposure. Individual chronic daily intake (CDI) of PHEs was higher than their respective permissible exposure limits set for oral exposure routes by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Chronic risk or health index (HI) values were observed < 1 for all PHEs and in the order of Pb > Cr > Cd > Ni > Cu > Co > Zn. Higher HI values of Pb, Cr, and Cd could attribute to various chronic health problems as observed during the medical examination survey of this study. Cancer risk (CR) values for this study were observed within the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits. However, if current practices continued, the PHEs will cross these limits in a near future. Therefore, this study strongly recommends the provision of safety measures, rules, and regulation to avoid health hazards in the future.

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We acknowledge the instrumentation support of the National Center of Excellence (NCE) in Geology, University of Peshawar, and reviewers for their time and kind suggestion on manuscript.

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Correspondence to Said Muhammad.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Ishtiaq, M., Jehan, N., Khan, S.A. et al. Potential harmful elements in coal dust and human health risk assessment near the mining areas in Cherat, Pakistan. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 14666–14673 (2018).

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  • Coal dust
  • Chronic daily intake
  • Chronic risk
  • Cancer risk
  • Coal mines