Human exposure risk to semivolatile organic compounds via soil in automobile workshops in Awka, South Eastern, Nigeria

  • Cynthia IbetoEmail author
  • Chibuzor Anekwe
  • Janefrances Ihedioha
Research Article


Evaluation of the human exposure risk to semivolatile organic compound (SVOC) levels in soil from automobile workshops in Awka was investigated. Soil samples were collected in both dry and rainy seasons. Solvent extraction of the soil samples was carried out using n-hexane: acetone mixture (1:1). Concentrations of SVOCs were determined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. There were higher concentrations of SVOCs in the dry season than in the rainy season. The concentrations of the SVOCs were compared with standards for industrial soils. Concentrations of pentachlorophenol in the samples for dry and rainy seasons were below the Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment (CCME) acceptable limit of 7.6 mg/kg. Eighty percent of soil samples for the dry season and all the soil samples for the rainy season had benzo(a)pyrene concentrations lower than the CCME acceptable limit of 0.7 mg/kg. However, incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCRder) of PAHs and pentachlorophenol for dry seasons exceeded 1.0 × 10−6 WHO acceptable limit in all the sampling stations, which indicates potential risk via dermal contact. ILCRs of pentachlorophenol were above 1.0 × 10−6 in 60% of the samples for soil ingestion and all the samples for dermal contact. Hazard quotient of phenolics, phthalates, 1,3-dichlorobenzene and 1,4-dichlorobenzene for soil samples were less than 1 for both seasons, which indicates no non-cancer risk. Results suggest that the SVOCs were highest at the centre of the automobile workshop and the main route of exposure was dermal contact with the soil.


Dermal contact Engine oils Hazard quotient Health risks Pollution SVOCs 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Abioye OP, Agamuthu P, Abdulaziz AR (2012) Biodegradation of used motor oil in soil using organic waste amendments. Biotech Res Int 2012:587041, 8 pages. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adedosu TA, Adeniyi OK, Adedosu HO (2015) Distribution, sources, and toxicity potentials of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil in the vicinity of Balogun-Birro dumpsite of Oshogbo, Nigeria. J Anal Sci 19(3):636–648Google Scholar
  3. Anoliefo GO, Vwioko DE (1995) Effect of spent lubricating oil on the growth of Capsicum annum L. and Lycopersicon esculentum Miller. Environ Pollut 88:361–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhupander K, Jyoti T, Verma VK, Sharma CS, Akolkar AB (2014) Distribution of eleven priority phenolic compounds in soils from mixed land use and assessment of health hazard for human population. Adv Appl Sci Res 5(2):125–132Google Scholar
  5. CCME (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment) (1991) Interim Canadian environmental quality criteria for contaminated sites. Report CCME EPC-CS34, 1–20. Canada: ManitobaGoogle Scholar
  6. CCME (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment) (1997) Recommended Canadian soil quality criteria for contaminated sites. CCME, WinnipegGoogle Scholar
  7. CCME (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment) (1999) Canadian soil quality guidelines for the protection of environmental and human health: summary tables updated 7.0, September, 2007 In: Canadian environmental quality guidelines. Canadian council of ministers of environment, WinnifegGoogle Scholar
  8. CCME (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment) (2008) Guidelines for carcinogenic and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (environmental and human health effects). Scientific supporting Document. 218Google Scholar
  9. Cocarta DM, Mihaela AS, Aykan K (2017) Crude oil polluted sites: evaluation by using risk assessment approach. Sustain 9:1365. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cvengroš J, Liptaj T, Prónayová N (2017) Study of polyaromatic hydrocarbons in current used motor oils. Int J Petrochem Sci Eng 2(7):00060. Google Scholar
  11. De-Cai J, Liang R, Dai Q, Zhang R, Wu X, Chao W (2010) Biodegradation of di-n-butyl phthalate by Rhodococcus sp. JDC-11 and molecular detection of 3,4-phthalate dioxygenase gene. J Microbiol Biotechnol 20(10):1440–1445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dumitrescu C, Cocarta DM, Resetar-Deac AM, Badea A, Biolan M (2012) Human health risk assessment of contaminated sites with carcinogenic pollutants. Present Environ Sust Dev 6(2):415–428 Google Scholar
  13. Health Canada (2007) Federal contaminated site risk assessment in Canada part I: guidance on human health preliminary quantitative risk assessment, version 2.0; Health Canada: Ottawa, ON, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  14. Heudorf U, Mersch-Sundermann V, Angerer J (2007) Phthalates: toxicology and exposure. Int J Hyg Environ Health 210(5):623–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hua Y, Luo Z, Cheng S, Xiang R (2012) Health risks of organic contaminated soil in an out of service oil refinery site. J Earth Sci 23:121–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. IARC (2010) Some non-heterocyclic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and some related exposures. Monographs on the evaluations of carcinogenic risks to human, vol 92. International Agency for Research on Cancer: Lyon, FranceGoogle Scholar
  17. Jeffries J, Martins I (2009) Updated technical background to the ClEA model, SC050021/SR3 Environment Agency of England and Wales, Bristol, pp 1–166Google Scholar
  18. Kästner M, Breuer-Jammali M, Mahro B (1998) Impact of inoculation protocols, salinity, and pH on the degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and survival of PAH-degrading bacteria introduced into soil. Appl Environ Microbiol 64(1):359–362Google Scholar
  19. Katsoyiannis A, Samara C (2007) Comparison of active and passive sampling for the determination of persistent organic pollutants (pops) in sewage treatment plants. Chemosphere 67:1375–1382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lawal OL, Arokoyu SB, Udeh II (2015) Assessment of automobile workshop in a typical urban environment in sub-Saharan Africa. Environ Res Eng Manag 71(1):27–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. NDEP (2009) User’s guide and background technical document for Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP): basic comparison levels (BCL) for human health for the BMI complex and common areas. 95-019/05-26-95; NDEP: Las Vegas, pp 1–41Google Scholar
  22. NJDEP (2009) New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection toxicity factors used to develop human health basis for DEP standards; integrated risk information system (IRIS), CAS-100-41-4; New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection: Trenton, NJ, USAGoogle Scholar
  23. Nwaichi EO, Chuku LC, Ighoavwogan E (2016) Determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and selected heavy metals in some oil polluted sites in Delta State, Nigeria. J Environ 7:1389–1410Google Scholar
  24. Nwoko CO, Njoku RF, Nlemedium PU, Ihugba UA (2017) Assessment of the distribution pattern of polyaromatic hydrocarbons around Nekede Auto-mechanic Village, Imo State, Nigeria. J Chem Environ Bio Eng 2(2):20–26Google Scholar
  25. NYS DOH (New York State Department of Health) (2007) Hopewell, precision area contamination: appendix C-NYS DOH, In: Procedure for evaluating potential health risks for contaminants of concern.
  26. Obini U, Okafor CO, Afiukwa JN (2013) Determination of levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil contaminated with spent motor Engine oil in Abakaliki Auto-mechanic village in Nigeria. J Appl Sci Environ Manag 17(2):169–175Google Scholar
  27. Odjegba VJ, Sadiq AO (2002) Effects of spent engine oil on the growth parameters, chlorophyll and protein levels of Amaranthus hybridus L. Environment 22:23–28Google Scholar
  28. Olubunmi EF, Edward OO (2013) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in soils of Agbabu, Nigeria. 1st Annual International Interdisciplinary Conference, AIIC 2013, 24–26 April, Azores, Portugal – Proceedings, 849Google Scholar
  29. Omorowa FE, Agu KC, Okolie NP, Oghagbon SE, Sule AS, Egbuta UM (2015) Influence of spent-engine oil on hematology, renal and liver status of auto mechanics of Benin-City, Nigeria. J Appl Sci Environ Manag 19(3):383–386Google Scholar
  30. Opuene J, Agbozu IE, Iwuozor CC (2007) Identification of perylene in sediments: occurrence and diagenetic evolution. Int J Environ Sci Technol 4(4):457–462Google Scholar
  31. Pam AA, Sha’Ato R, Offem JO (2013) Evaluation of heavy metals in soils around auto mechanic workshop clusters in Gboko and Makurdi, Central Nigeria. J Environ Chem Ecotoxicol 5(11):298–306Google Scholar
  32. Pawar RM, Hall AM, Naseby DC (2010) Effect of soil pH on biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Society of General Microbiology Meeting ENV/02Google Scholar
  33. Pawar RM, Hall AM, Naseby DC (2013) The effect of soil pH on photo-catalytic oxidation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Int J Innov Appl Stud 3:879–892Google Scholar
  34. Pawełczyk A, Božek F, Żuber M (2018) Environmental risk, case studies. CZECH-POL TRADE, Prague. ISBN 978-80-907124-0-9Google Scholar
  35. Peng P, Lang YH, Wang XM (2016) Adsorption behavior and mechanism of pentachlorophenol on reed biochars: pH effect, pyrolysis temperature, hydrochloric acid treatment and isotherm. Ecol Eng 90:225–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ping LF, Luo YM (2005) Research progress on the effect of organic matter on environmental behavior of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Soil 37:362–369Google Scholar
  37. Rasbergers M, Aguilar G, Mazzamaro G (2010) Oxidative degradation and stabilization of mineral oil based lubricants. In: Mortier RM, Fox MF, Orszulik S (eds) Chemistry and Technology of Lubricants, 3rd edn. Springer, pp 124–140Google Scholar
  38. Sinsabaugh RL (2010) Phenol oxidase, peroxidase and organic matters of soil. Soil Boil Biochem 42(3):391–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. U.S. ATDR (1995) Toxicological profile for diethylphthalate.
  40. U.S. ATSDR (2002) Toxicological profile for di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP).
  41. Ugwu KE, Ukoha PO (2016) Analysis and sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil and plant samples of a coal mining area in Nigeria. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 96(3):383–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. USEPA (1989) Health effects assessment for pentachlorophenol. EPA/540/1-86/043.Environmental criteria and Assessment, office of Research and Development, Cincinnati, OHGoogle Scholar
  43. USEPA (1993) Provisional guidance for quantitative risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. EPA/600/R-93)089, office of Health and Environmental Assessment Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  44. USEPA (1997) Reregistration eligibility decision (RED). P-Chloro-m-Cresol. EPA-738-R-96008. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  45. USEPA (1999) Integrated risk information system (IRIS) on hexachlorocyclopentadiene. National Centre for Environmental, Assessment, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  46. USEPA (2003) The air toxics hot spots program guidance manual for preparation of health risk assessments; Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment California Environmental Protection Agency: Sacramento, CA, USAGoogle Scholar
  47. USEPA (2006) Integrated risk information system (IRIS) on phenol. National Centre for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  48. USEPA (2007) Integrated risk information system (IRIS). Office of Research and Development, National Centre for Environmental, Assessment, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  49. Vazquez-Duhalt R (1989) Environmental impact of used motor oil. Sci Total Environ 79:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yang T, Ren L, Jia Y, Fan S, Wang J, Wang J, Nahurira R, Wang H, Yan Y (2018) Biodegradation of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate by Rhodococcus ruber YC-YT1 in contaminated water and soil. Int J Environ Res Public Health 15(5):964Google Scholar
  51. Zeng F, Cui K, Li K, Sheng G (2004) Biodegradation kinetics of phthalate esters by pseudomonas fluorescens FSI. Process Biochem 39:1125–1129CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NigeriaNsukkaNigeria

Personalised recommendations