Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 18, pp 14018–14031 | Cite as

Evaluation of the pollution and human health risks posed by heavy metals in the atmospheric dust in Ebinur Basin in Northwest China

  • Jilili Abuduwailil
  • Zhang Zhaoyong
  • Jiang Fengqing
Research Article


Recently, a large amount of research assessing pollution levels and the related health risks posed by atmosphere dust has been undertaken worldwide. However, little work has been done in the oases of the arid regions of Northwest China. In this paper, we studied the pollution and health risks over a year of seven heavy metals in the atmospheric dust of Ebinur Basin, a typical oasis in Northwest China. The results showed the following: (1) The annual amount of atmospheric deposition in Ebinur Basin was 298.23 g m−2 and the average monthly atmospheric deposition was 25.06 g m−2. The average and maximum values of the seven heavy metals measured were all below the National Soil Environmental Quality Standards (2nd). (2) Heavy metals of Cu, Cr, and As in the atmospheric deposition mainly originated from the natural geological background, while Zn came from human activity. This study also showed that among the seven measured heavy metals, the ratios of the no-pollution status of Pb, Cd, and Hg were higher than those of others with moderate degrees of pollution also accounting for a certain ratio. (3) The carcinogenic risks from As, Cd, and Cr were all lower than the corresponding standard limit values, and these metals are considered not harmful to the health of the basin. However, there is a relatively high risk of exposure for children from hand-to-mouth intake, which is worthy of attention. This research showed that both human activity and natural factors, such as wind and altitude, influenced the heavy metal contents in the atmospheric dust of the study area. Furthermore, recent human activity in the study area had the most negative influence on the accumulation of the heavy metals and the corresponding health risks, especially for Hg, Pb, and Cd, which is worthy of attention.


Atmospheric deposition Heavy metals Pollution assessment Health risk evaluation Ebinur Basin Northwest China 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41471098) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China-Xinjiang Joint Fund (No. U1138301). The authors are extremely thankful for the advice and comments from the reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jilili Abuduwailil
    • 1
  • Zhang Zhaoyong
    • 2
  • Jiang Fengqing
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.College of Resources and Environmental ScienceXinjiang University, Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology of the Ministry of EducationUrumqiChina

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