Health risk assessment and source apportionment of heavy metals in atmospheric dustfall in a city of Khuzestan Province, Iran


The heavy metals in the atmospheric particulate matters are now considered a risk for humans and the environment. The purpose of this study was to assess the concentration, source apportionment, and health risk of heavy metals in atmospheric dustfall in Dezful City of Khuzestan Province, Iran. The dustfall samples were collected from five locations every month for one year (2018–2019). The heavy metals ( lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), iron (Fe), and nickel (Ni)) contents of dustfall samples were determined by ICP-OES. The monthly mean of dustfall for five sampling locations was 22.81 ± 21.9− 2.month− 1. The mean concentrations of the examined heavy metals were assessed as Fe > Cr > Ni > Pb > Cd. The highest enrichment level belonged to Cd (59.35 ± 128.18) and all heavy metals had enrichment levels beyond 10. The HI (Hazard Index) values were less than one and there was no significant non-carcinogenic risk due to these heavy metals. For children, Ni showed the most HI with a value of 0.205. The calculations demonstrate that the obtained values of cancer risk in both groups are less than the acceptable range (10− 6 to 10− 4). The PMF (Positive Matrix Factorization) results indicated four main sources of pollutants, namely, vehicular exhaust, industrial, road dust, and nonferrous smelting. The results of the study revealed that industrial activities and traffic play crucial roles in increasing the heavy metals contamination of dustfall in Dezful City.

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The authors appreciate the financial support provided by the Kashan University of Medical Sciences under the grant number of 96103. The Ethics code of this study was IR.KAUMS.NUHEPM.REC.1396.20.

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Mostafaii, G., Bakhtyari, Z., Atoof, F. et al. Health risk assessment and source apportionment of heavy metals in atmospheric dustfall in a city of Khuzestan Province, Iran. J Environ Health Sci Engineer (2021).

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  • Dustfall
  • Enrichment factor
  • Heavy metals
  • Health Risk Assessment