Field accumulation risks of heavy metals in soil and vegetable crop irrigated with sewage water in western region of Saudi Arabia

Muhammad Aqeel Ashraf and Khaled S. Balkhair (2016) Field accumulation risks of heavy metals in soil and vegetable crop irrigated with sewage water in western region of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 23 (1, sup). S32-S44. ISSN 1319-562X


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Wastewater irrigated fields can cause potential contamination with heavy metals to soil and groundwater, thus pose a threat to human beings . The current study was designed to investigate the potential human health risks associated with the consumption of okra vegetable crop contaminated with toxic heavy metals. The crop was grown on a soil irrigated with treated wastewater in the western region of Saudi Arabia during 2010 and 2011. The monitored heavy metals included Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn for their bioaccumulation factors to provide baseline data regarding environmental safety and the suitability of sewage irrigation in the future. The pollution load index (PLI), enrichment factor (EF) and contamination factor (CF) of these metals were calculated. The pollution load index of the studied soils indicated their level of metal contamination. The concentrations of Ni, Pb, Cd and Cr in the edible portions were above the safe limit in 90%, 28%, 83% and 63% of the samples, respectively. The heavy metals in the edible portions were as follows: Cr > Zn > Ni > Cd > Mn > Pb > Cu > Fe. The Health Risk Index (HRI) was >1 indicating a potential health risk. The EF values designated an enhanced bio-contamination compared to other reports from Saudi Arabia and other countries around the world. The results indicated a potential pathway of human exposure to slow poisoning by heavy metals due to the indirect utilization of vegetables grown on heavy metal-contaminated soil that was irrigated by contaminated water sources. The okra tested was not safe for human use, especially for direct consumption by human beings. The irrigation source was identified as the source of the soil pollution in this study.

Item Type: Article
Keyword: Health risk, Heavy metals, Sewage water, Metal transfer index, Soil
Subjects: T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Department: FACULTY > Faculty of Science and Natural Resources
Depositing User: ADMIN ADMIN
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2016 11:33
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2017 13:42

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