Human health risk assessment of arsenic downstream of a steel plant in Isfahan, Iran: a case study

  • H. TavakoliEmail author
  • A. Azari
  • K. Ashrafi
  • M. Salimian
  • M. Momeni
Original Paper


This paper presents impacts of arsenic due to a steel plant operation on an agricultural and residential area. A spatial dispersion modeling of arsenic in fugitive particulates was implemented using AERMOD as a tool for analyzing the impacts of steel complex emissions in southwest of Isfahan, Iran, based on US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidelines. Evaluating the model, EPA’s speciate database was used to determine the proportion of the steel plant in air pollution among other sources in the region, and values of arsenic were further compared with those obtained during an 8-h continuous monitoring at 11 downstream receptors. According to the modeling results, sampling locations of air, water, soil, rice and meat downstream the steel plant were identified and collected, and concentrations of arsenic were measured. Finally, the human health risk assessment of arsenic via inhalation, ingestion and dermal exposure was calculated. The performance evaluation of the model showed that AERMOD predictions are reliable for industrial areas, and it can provide useful information for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) guidelines. The results of arsenic case study show the value of total carcinogenic risk 117 per million, while the hazard index value was found greater than one. Inhalation entry risk attributes the most, and exposure to air, water, food and soil attributes about 66%, 18%, 15% and 0.05% of total risk in the overall region, respectively. The results indicate that the high level of contamination should have high chronic non-cancer risk and medium cancer risk compared to EPA guidelines.


Health risk assessment AERMOD Air pollution Steel plant Arsenic 



At the end, I would like to appreciate HSE office of Isfahan steel complex and Isfahan Provincial Department of Environment for providing stack parameters and PM emission data form stacks.

Supplementary material

13762_2019_2429_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1669 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA
  2. 2.School of Environment, College of EngineeringUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  3. 3.Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental EngineeringDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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