Effect of cigarette butt on concentration of heavy metals in landfill leachate: health and ecological risk assessment


Cigarette butt is known as hazardous waste with numerous toxic and carcinogenic pollutants which impose serious concern for both the environment and human. Heavy metals are recognized as the most common pollutant in the cigarette butts. The concentration of some heavy metals (cadmium, chromium, nickel, lead and zinc) in leachate obtained from the pilot landfill with commingled waste and freshly smoked cigarettes butts were analyzed. The results showed that the addition of 0.76% (in weight) freshly smoked cigarette butts in landfilled waste increased total heavy metal concentration by 4.8%, while addition of 1.3% (in weight) freshly smoked cigarette butts leads to increased 3.72% of total heavy metals concentrations. An increased 10.52% and 3.43% health risk values were found from the leachate of the landfill pilot, where 1% freshly smoked cigarette butt and a littered cigarette were added, respectively. Overall, it can be concluded that cigarette butt landfilling is not recommended for management of this type of waste and is necessary to be replaced with less hazardous ways such as recycling.

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The authors gratefully appreciate the financial support given by the Research Center for Environmental Health Technology, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran (Grant Number 96-04-212-31925).

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Correspondence to Mahdi Farzadkia.

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Torkashvand, J., Godini, K., Norouzi, S. et al. Effect of cigarette butt on concentration of heavy metals in landfill leachate: health and ecological risk assessment. J Environ Health Sci Engineer (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40201-021-00621-0

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  • Landfill leachate
  • Cigarette butt
  • Heavy metal
  • Risk assessment