Pedosphere 28(4): 666--679, 2018
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2018 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Transfer of Heavy Metals from Soils to Vegetables and Associated Human Health Risks at Selected Sites in Pakistan
Zahir Ur REHMAN1,3, Sardar KHAN1, Mohammad Tahir SHAH2, Mark L. BRUSSEAU3, Said Akbar KHAN1, Jon MAINHAGU3
1Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Peshawar, Peshawar 25120(Pakistan)
2National Centre of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar, Peshawar 25120(Pakistan)
3School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721 AZ(USA)
Corresponding Author:Zahir Ur REHMAN
      Contamination of the food chain with heavy metals is considered as one of the major environmental pathways of human exposure to metals leading to potential health risks. This study aimed to investigate the concentrations of heavy metals such as copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), and manganese (Mn) in agricultural soils and food crops (fruit, leaf, and root vegetables), and their associated health risks to the local population in selected southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan. The concentrations of the selected metals in soil varied over a wide range, in the following decreasing order:Mn > Zn > Cr > Ni > Cu. The bioaccumulation of metals in vegetables was within the permissible risk limits, except for Cr which showed higher contamination in all the tested food crops. The trend of metal transfer factors for different vegetables was in the order of Cu > Ni > Cr > Mn > Zn, while the calculated daily intake of metals (DIM) in adults and children through consumption of food crops was in the decreasing order of Mn > Zn > Ni > Cr > Cu. The health risk index (HRI) values for the heavy metals for both adults and children were less than 1. Therefore, no significant health risk is anticipated for the local consumers through ingestion of these food crops.
Key Words:  contamination,daily intake,food crops,metal accumulation,metal pollution,metal transfer factor,risk index
Citation: Rehman Z U, Khan S, Shah M T, Brusseau M L, Khan S A, Mainhagu J. 2018. Transfer of heavy metals from soils to vegetables and associated human health risks at selected sites in Pakistan. Pedosphere. 28(4): 666–679.
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