Risk Assessments of Heavy Metals to Children Following Non-dietary Exposures and Sugarcane Consumption in a Rural Area in Southern China

  • Xiao-fei Wang
  • Chao-bing Deng
  • Geoffrey Sunahara
  • Juan Yin
  • Gui-ping Xu
  • Kai-xian Zhu
Original Paper


Based on the context of a rural area contaminated by mining waste in Guangxi, China, the health risks of seven heavy metals (HM) to local children were evaluated. Risk assessments of soil HMs to individuals exposed through non-dietary routes and consuming locally grown sugarcane (juice) were conducted. Results indicated that the ranking for risks of HM exposures was juice drinking > non-dietary oral intake > dermal contact > inhalation. For non-carcinogenic risks, Cr and Cd in sugarcane juice posed the most significant risks, whereas As and Pb posed the highest risks through non-dietary exposure routes. A newly established assessment model using a regression equation of hazard index of HMs to ratios of soil HM concentrations/total reference doses, showed that the non-dietary HM risk was closely correlated to the environmental HM levels and human sensitivities, which can be measured by HM total daily reference doses.


Heavy metals Non-dietary exposure Health risk Sugarcane Children 



This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Guangxi (2013GXNSFEA053001) and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangxi (2015GXNSFEA139001). The authors would like to thank other team members, Yan Tian, Xin Hong, Xiao-Xi Liang and Rong Su, for their hard work and dedication in finishing this study.

Supplementary material

12403_2018_275_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


  1. Alloway B (1990) Heavy metals in soils, vol 22. Blackie, London, pp 32–39Google Scholar
  2. Anju M, Banerjee D (2012) Multivariate statistical analysis of heavy metals in soils of a Pb–Zn mining area, India. Environ Monit Assess 184:4191–4206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bacon JR, Dinev NS (2005) Isotopic characterisation of lead in contaminated soils from the vicinity of a non-ferrous metal smelter near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Environ Pollut 134:247–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Flora G, Gupta D, Tiwari A (2012) Toxicity of lead: a review with recent updates. Interdiscip Toxicol 5:47–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fujimori T, Takigami H (2014) Pollution distribution of heavy metals in surface soil at an informal electronic-waste recycling site. Environ Geochem Health 36:159–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Godt J, Scheidig F, Grosse-Siesreup C et al (2006) The toxicity of cadmium and resulting hazards for human health. J Occup Med Toxicol 1:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gorini F, Muratori F, Morales MA (2014) The role of heavy metal pollution in neurobehavioural disorders: a focus on autism. J Autism Dev Disord 1:354–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (2017) Agents classified by the IARC Monographs, vol. 1–118.
  9. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) (2017) United States environmental protection agency (USEPA).
  10. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (2017) Agents classified by the IARC Monographs, vol. 1–118Google Scholar
  11. Järup L, Berglund M, Elinder C, Nordberg G, Vahter M (1998) Health effects of cadmium exposure—a review of the literature and a risk estimate. Scand J Work Environ Health 24:1–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Khan S, Rehman S, Khan A, Khan MA, Shah MT (2010) Soil and vegetables enrichment with heavy metals from geological sources in Gilgit, northern Pakistan. Ecotoxicol Environ Safe 73:1820–1827CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Li M, Luo Y, Su Z (2007) Heavy metal concentrations in soils and plant accumulation in a restored manganese mine land in Guangxi, South China. Environ Pollut 147:168–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Li Q, Zhou J, Chen B et al (2014a) Toxic metal contamination and distribution in soils and plants of a typical metallurgical industrial area in southwest of China. Environ Earth Sci 72:2101–2109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Li ZY, Ma ZW, Kuijp TJ, Yuan Z, Huang L (2014b) A review of soil heavy metal pollution from mines in China: pollution and health risk assessment. Sci Total Environ 468:843–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Liu GN, Tao L, Liu XH, Hou J, Wang A, Li R (2013) Heavy metal speciation and pollution of agricultural soils along the Jishui River in a non-ferrous metal mine area in Jiangxi Province, China. J Geochem Explor 132:156–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Liu GN, Yu YJ, Hou J et al (2014) An ecological risk assessment of heavy metal pollution of the agricultural ecosystem near a lead-acid battery factory. Ecol Indic 47:210–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ministry of Environmental Protection of P. R. China (MEPC) (1995) Environmental quality standard for soils, GB 15618—1995Google Scholar
  19. Ministry of Environmental Protection of P. R. China (MEPC) (2014) Technical guidelines for risk assessment of contaminated sites, HJ/25.3—2014Google Scholar
  20. Nagajyoti PC, Lee KD, Sreekanth TVM (2010) Heavy metals, occurrence and toxicity for plants: a review. Environ Chem Lett 8:199–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Naz A, Mishra BK, Gupta SK (2016) Human health risk assessment of chromium in drinking water: a case study of a Sukinda chromite mine, Odisha, India. Expo Health 8:253–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Plum LM, Rink L, Haase H (2010) The essential toxin: impact of zinc on human health. Int J Env Res Public Health 7:1342–1365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Praveena SM, Yuswir NS, Aris AZ, Hashim Z (2015) Contamination assessment and potential human health risks of heavy metals in Klang urban soils: a preliminary study. Environ Earth Sci 73:8155–8165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Saba G, Parizanganeh AH, Zamani A, Saba J (2015) Phytoremediation of heavy metals contaminated environments: screening for native accumulator plants in Zanjan-Iran. Int J Environ Res 9:309–316Google Scholar
  25. Su R, Wang XF, Hong X, Huang X, Li L (2015) Determination of elements in soil by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry with microwave digestion. Mod Chem Ind 1:175–177Google Scholar
  26. Swarnalatha K, Letha J, Ayoob S, Nair AG (2015) Risk assessment of heavy metal contamination in sediments of a tropical lake. Environ Monit Assess 187:322. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tong S, Schirnding YEV, Prapamontol T (2000) Environmental lead exposure: a public health problem of global dimensions. Bull World Health Organ 78:1068–1077Google Scholar
  28. United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (1989) Risk assessment guidance for superfund: Human health evaluation manual (Part A); EPA/540/1-89/002, vol 1. USEPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  29. United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (2001) Risk assessment guidance for superfund: Process for conducting probabilistic risk assessment (Part A); EPA 540-R-02-002, vol 3. USEPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  30. United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (2002) Supplemental guidance for developing soil screen levels for superfund sites; OSWER 9355. USEPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  31. United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (2004) Risk assessment guidance for superfund: Human health evaluation manual (Part E, supplemental guidance for dermal risk assessment), vol 1. USEPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  32. United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (2011) Regional screen level (RSL) summary tableGoogle Scholar
  33. Wang X, He M, Xie J, Xi J, Lu X (2010) Heavy metal pollution of the world largest antimony mine-affected agricultural soils in Hunan province (China). J Soil Sediment 10:827–837CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wei B, Yang L (2010) A review of heavy metal contamination in urban soils, urban road dusts, and agricultural soils from China. Microchem J 94(2):99–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yang YC, Xue MQ, Xu ZM, Huang C (2013) Health risk assessment of heavy metals (Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb) in circumjacent soil of a factory for recycling waste electrical and electronic equipment. J Mater Cycles Waste 15:556–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zhang XY, Tang XL, Zhao CL et al (2008) Health risk evaluation for the inhabitants of a typical mining town in a mountain area, South China. Ann NY Acad Sci 1140:263–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zhang LE, Mo ZY, Li Q et al (2015) Change of water sources reduces health risks from heavy metals via ingestion of water, soil, and rice in a riverine area, South China. Sci Total Environ 530–531:163–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zheng XX, Zhao WJ, Yan X, Shu T, Xiong Q, Chen F (2015) Pollution characteristics and health risk assessment of airborne heavy metals collected from Beijing bus stations. Int J Env Res Public Health 12:9658–9671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zhou JM, Dang Z, Cai MF, Liu CQ (2007) Soil heavy metal pollution around the Dabaoshan mine, Guangdong Province, China. Pedosphere 17:588–594CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Light Industry and Food Engineering CollegeGuangxi UniversityNanningChina
  2. 2.Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Environmental Monitoring CentreNanningChina
  3. 3.Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Environmental Protection BureauNanningChina
  4. 4.Department of Natural Resource SciencesMcGill UniversitySte-Anne-de-BellevueCanada
  5. 5.Scientific Research Academy of Guangxi Environmental ProtectionNanningChina

Personalised recommendations