Traffic-related lead pollution in roadside soils and plants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan: implications for human health

  • I. AhmadEmail author
  • B. Khan
  • N. Asad
  • I. A. Mian
  • M. Jamil
Original Paper


The contamination of lead in roadside soils and in the leaves of selected trees grown on the corresponding roadside land was investigated. Roadside soil and leaf samples of four tree species were collected along the national and provincial highways in five towns of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. The mean lead concentrations in roadside soil samples were 44.8, 39.4, 32.7, 28.4 and 41.7 mg kg−1 for Peshawar, Charsadda, Swabi, Upper Dir and Lower Dir, respectively. For leaves, the mean concentrations were 4.44, 3.48, 5.56 and 5.93 mg kg−1 for Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Dalbergia sissoo, Platanus orientalis and Morus nigra, respectively. Human health risks via ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact were estimated numerically in terms of average daily dose, hazard quotient and hazard index for the exposed adults and children. The mean hazard index value for adults was 0.37, and mean hazard index value for children was 3.23. Thus, children were found at high risk of lead-related health issues due to roadside soil pollution.


Health risk Lead Plant contamination Pollution Roadside soil Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 



This research work was supported by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan, under the indigenous 5000 PhD fellowship program, Grant No. 112-25048-2PS1-361 to the 1st author.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of PeshawarPeshawarPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Soil and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AgriculturePeshawarPakistan
  3. 3.Department of BotanyUniversity of SargodhaSargodhaPakistan

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