Arabian Journal of Geosciences

, Volume 8, Issue 11, pp 9753–9761 | Cite as

Health risk assessment of heavy metal exposure in urban soil from Seri Kembangan (Malaysia)

  • Sarva Mangala PraveenaEmail author
  • Sharifah Norkhadijah Syed Ismail
  • Ahmad Zaharin Aris
Original Paper


Heavy metals in urban soils are associated with direct and indirect human health risks. This study examined bioavailability of heavy metal (Pb, Cd, Cr and As) in urban soil of Seri Kembangan (Malaysia) and their risks to human health. Bioavailability of heavy metal concentration (arsenic, lead, cadmium and chromium) were analysed by a simplified physiologically based extraction test. Both noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic risks were assessed using health index and total lifetime cancer risk, respectively. Average concentrations of bioavailability heavy metal were found in the order of Pb (2668.8 mg/kg) > Cr (74 mg/kg) > Cd (47.5) > As (13.75 mg/kg). For non-cancer, average hazard index values of heavy metal order were Pb(1.27) > Cr(0.11) > Cd(0.05). For As, total cancer risk values of Seri Kembangan urban soil (7.2E-6) were lower than the tolerable lifetime cancer risk for regulatory purposes (1E-5). Ingestion pathway is the most contributed pathway for both cancer and non-cancer risks. Land use type is found to be the main contributor which influences heavy metal exposure corresponding to health risk assessment output. Industrial areas were found to have hazard index values were lesser than residential areas in Seri Kembangan urban soil. Location areas in Seri Kembangan as near major roads with large amount of traffics were found to be more higher with HI more than 1, indicating high heavy metal contamination in urban soil due to vehicular emissions. This study has showed that realistic estimation of human health risk of heavy metal contamination in urban soils needs combination of land use type with bioavailability heavy metal concentration.


Urban soil Heavy metal Human health risk assessment Exposure pathways 



The authors would like to thank the Research University Grant Scheme (RUGS) vote number 9335100 for financial support. Special thanks to Miss Nurul Syazani Yuswir, Miss Raihanah Binti Chokeli and Mr. Noor Azizul Bin Yuswir for the assistance during field sampling.


  1. Adepoju MO, Adekoya JA (2014) Heavy metal distribution and assessment in stream sediments of River Orle, Southwestern Nigeria. Arab J Geosci 7:743–756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ağca N (2015) Spatial distribution of heavy metal content in soils around an industrial area in Southern Turkey. Arab J Geosci 8:1111–1123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 2005 Toxicological profile for lead—draft for public comment, Atlanta, GAGoogle Scholar
  4. Akoto O, Bismark Eshun F, Darko G, Adei E (2014) Concentrations and health risk assessments of heavy metals in fish from the Fosu Lagoon. Int J Environ Res 8:403–410Google Scholar
  5. Alahmr FOM, Othman M, Wahid NB, Halim AZ, Latif MT (2012) Compositions of dust fall around semi-urban areas in Malaysia. Aerosol Air Qual Res 12:629–642Google Scholar
  6. Bin TJ (2011) Utar new village community project report. Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuala LumpurGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen TB, Wong JW, Zhou HY, Wong MH (1997) Assessment of trace metal distribution and contamination in surface soils of Hong Kong. Environ Pollut 96:61–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen TB, Zheng YM, Lei M (2005) Assessment of heavy metal pollution in surface soils of urban parks in Beijing, China. Chemosphere 60:542–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Environment Agency (2002) Soil guideline values. Waterside Drive, BristolGoogle Scholar
  10. Figueiredo AMG, Tocchini M, dos Santos TFS (2011) Metals in playground soils of Sao Paulo city, Brazil. Procedia Environ Sci 4:303–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grzetic I, Ghariani RHA (2008) Potential health risks assessment for soil heavy metal contamination in the central zone of Belgrade (Serbia). J Serb Chem Soc 73:923–934CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guo G, Wu F, Xie F, Zhang R (2012) Spatial distribution and pollution assessment of heavy metals in urban soils from southwest China. J Environ Sci 24(3):410–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Imperato M, Adamo P, Naimo D, Arienzo M, Stanzione D, Violante P (2003) Spatial distribution of heavy metals in urban soils of Naples city (Italy). Environ Pollut 124:247–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Karim Z, Qureshi BA (2013) Health risk assessment of heavy metals in urban soil of Karachi, Pakistan. Hum Ecol Risk Assess 20:658–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kleckerová A, Dočekalová H (2014) Dandelion plants as a biomonitor of urban area contamination by heavy metals. Int J Environ Res 8:157–164Google Scholar
  16. Latif MT, Othamn MR, Kim CL, Murayadi SA, Sahaimi KNA (2009) Composition of household dust in semi-urban areas. Indoor Built Environ 18:155–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lee SW, Lee BT, Kim JY, Kim KW, Lee JS (2006) Human risk assessment for heavy metals and As concentration in the abandoned metal mine areas, Korea. Environ Monit Assess 119:233–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Li X, Lee SL, Wong SC, Shi W, Thornton I (2004) The study of metal contamination in urban soils of Hong Kong using a GIS-based approach. Environ Poll 129:113–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lim WY, Aris AZ, Praveena SM (2013) Application of the chemometric approach to evaluate the spatial variation of water chemistry and the identification of the sources of pollution in Langat River, Malaysia. Arab J Geosci 6:4891–4901CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lu X, Wang L, Lei K, Huganga J, Zhaia Y (2009) Contamination assessment of copper, lead, zinc, manganese and nickel in street dust of Baoji, NW China. J Hazard Mater 161:1058–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Luo XS, Ding J, Xu B, Wang YJ, Li HB, Yu S (2012) Incorporating bioaccessibility into human health risk assessments of heavy metals in urban park soils. Sci Total Environ 424:88–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Machender G, Dhakate R, Mallikharjuna Rao ST, Mangaraja Rao B, Prasanna L (2014) Heavy metal contamination in sediments of Balanagar industrial area, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. Arab J Geosci 7:513–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Malaysian Adult Nutrition Survey (2009) In: Amin I, Rusidah S, Norhayati MK, Fairulnizal MN, Norliza AH (2012) Current status of food composition data in Malaysia. First Australian Food Metrology Symposium. 23 October 2012. Melbourne, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  24. Man YB, Sun XL, Zhao YG (2010) Health risk assessment of abandoned agricultural soils based on heavy metal contents in Hong Kong, the world’s most populated city. Environ Int 36:570–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Manta DS, Angelone M, Bellanca A, Neri R, Sprovieri M (2002) Heavy metals in urban soils: a case study from the city of Palermo (Sicily), Italy. Sci Total Environ 300:229–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mashal K, Al-Qinna M, Ali Y (2009) Spatial distribution and environmental implications of lead and zinc in urban soils and street dusts samples in Al-Hashimeyeh Municipality Jordan. J Mechanical Ind Engineer 3:141–150Google Scholar
  27. Melegy AA, Shaban AM, Hassaan MM, Salman SA (2014) Geochemical mobilization of some heavy metals in water resources and their impact on human health in Sohag Governorate, Egypt. Arab J Geosci 7:4541–4552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nabulo G, Young SD, Black CR (2010) Assessing risk to human health from tropical leafy vegetables grown on contaminated urban soils. Sci Total Environ 408:5338–5351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. National Research Council (1983) Risk assessment in the federal government: managing the process. National Academy Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  30. Praveena SM, Aris AZ, Radojevic M (2010) Heavy metals dynamics and source in intertidal mangrove sediment of Sabah, Borneo Island. Environ Asia 3:72–81Google Scholar
  31. Scancar J, Milacic R, Stratzar M, Burica O (2000) Total metal concentrations and partitioning of Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni and Zn in sewage sludge. Sci Total Environ 250:9–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Thornton I, Farago ME, Thums CR (2008) Urban geochemistry: research strategies to assist risk assessment and remediation of brownfield sites in urban areas. Environ Geochem Health 30:565–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. United States Environmental Protection Agency (2002) Supplemental guidance for developing soil screening levels for superfund sites. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, WashingstonGoogle Scholar
  34. United States Environmental Protection Agency (2012) Integrated risk information system of the US Environmental protection agency. Available at
  35. Xia X, Chen X, Liu R, Liu H (2011) Heavy metals in urban soils with various types of land use in Beijing, China. J Hazard Mat 186:2043–2050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yang Z, Lu W, Long Y, Bao X, Yang Q (2011) Assessment of heavy metals contamination in urban topsoil from Changchun City, China. J Geochem Explor 108:27–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yesilonis ID, Pouyat RV, Neerchal NK (2008) Spatial distribution of metals in soils in Baltimore, Maryland: role of native parent material, proximity to major roads, housing age and screening guidelines. Environ Pollut 156:723–731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhao H, Xia B, Fan C, Zhao P, Shen S (2012) Human health risk from soil heavy metal contamination under different land uses near Dabaoshan Mine, Southern China. Sci Total Environ 417–418:45–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zheng N, Liu J, Wang Q, Liang Z (2010) Health risk assessment of heavy metal exposure to street dust in the zinc smelting district, Northeast of China. Sci Total Environ 408:726–733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zimová M, Ďuriš M, Spěváčková V (2001) Health risk of urban soils contaminated by heavy metals. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 14:231–234Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarva Mangala Praveena
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sharifah Norkhadijah Syed Ismail
    • 1
  • Ahmad Zaharin Aris
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  2. 2.Environmental Forensics Research Centre, Faculty of Environmental StudiesUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia

Personalised recommendations