Levels of Metals in Soils of Ait Ammar Iron Mine, Morocco: Human Health Risks

Open access


The concentrations of metals were determined in soil samples collected in Ait Ammar (Oued Zem, Morocco). The mean Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb and Zn contents in the mining topsoil samples were: 2.12, 135, 34.9, 214, 9.13 and 90.8 mg kg−1, respectively. Human health risks developed from metal ingestion, dermal absorption and inhalation of soils were also evaluated. For non-carcinogenic risks, united hazard index (HI) values for children surpassed the safe level (HI=1) for Cr (13.1). Values for HI in adults (1.74) also surpassed the safe level for Cr. The HI values for Pb and Cd for children were 0.69 and 0.68, respectively. Cancer risk due to Cr surpassed the tolerable range (1E-06 to1E-04) for children (1.05E-03) and for adults (1.42E-04). Cancer risks due to Pb and Cd were within acceptable ranges for both children and adults. Furthermore, oral ingestion of soil particles contributed more highly to both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk from Cr than either dermal absorption or inhalation in both children and adults.

1. Adriano DC. Trace elements in terrestrial environments: biogeochemistry, bioavailability and risks of metals, 2nd ed, Springer, New York. 2001.

2. Wcislo, E.; Ioven, D.; Kucharski, R.; Szdzuj, J. Human health risk assessment case study: an abandoned metal smelter site in Poland. Chemosphere. 2002, 47, 507-515.

3. Shi, G.; Chen, Z.; Bi, C.; Wang, L.; Teng, J.; Li, Y.; Xu, S. A comparative study of health risk of potentially toxic metals in urban and suburban road dust in the most populated city of China. Atmos Environ. 2011, 45, 764-771.

4. Hu, X.; Zhang, Y.; Luo, J.; Wang, T.J.; Lian, H.Z.; Ding, Z.H. Bioaccessibility and health risk of arsenic, mercury and other metals in urban street dusts from a mega-city, Nanjing, China. Environ Pollut. 2011, 159, 1215-21.

5. Luo, X.S.; Yu, S.; Li, X.D. The mobility, bioavailability, and human bioaccessibility of trace metals in urban soils of Hong Kong. Appl Geochem. 2012, 27, 995-1004.

6. Chabukdhara, M.; Nema A.K. Heavy metals assessment in urban soil around industrial clusters in Ghaziabad, India: probabilistic health risk approach. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2013, 87, 57-64.

7. Olawoyin, R.; Oyewole, S.A.; Grayson, R.L. Potential risk effect from elevated levels of soil heavy metals on human health in the Niger delta. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2012, 85, 120-130.

8. Zheng, N.; Liu, J.H.; Wang, Q.C.; Liang, Z.Z. Health risk assessment of heavy metal exposure to street dust in the zinc smelting district, northeast of China. Sci Total Environ. 2010, 408, 726-33.

9. Mohmand, J.; Eqani, S.A.M.A.S.; Fasola, M.; Alamdar, A.; Ali, N.; Mustafa, I.; Liu, P.; Peng, S.; Shen, H. Human exposures to toxic metals via contaminated dust: bioaccumulation trends and risk assessment. Chemosphere. 2015, 132, 142-151.

10. Rovira, J.; Linares, V.; Belles, M.; Nadal, M.; Domingo, J.L. Airborne levels of uranium in the surroundings of various industrial facilities: Human health risks. J Risk Anal Crisis Resp. 2011, 1, 42-47.

11. USEPA. National Center for Environmental Assessment. Child-Specific Exposure Factors Handbook. EPA-600-P-00-002B. 2001.

12. Wang, Y.; Wang, R.; Fan, L.; Chen, T.; Bai, Y.; Yu, Q.; Liu, Y. Assessment of multiple exposure to chemical elements and health risks among residents near Huodehong lead-zinc mining area in Yunnan, Southwest China. Chemosphere (2017), doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.01.055

13. Singh, U.K.; Kumar, B. Pathways of heavy metals contamination and associated human health risk in Ajay River Basin, India. Chemosphere (2017), doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.01.103.

14. Nouri, M.; Gonçalves, F.; Sousa, J.P.; Römbke, J.; Ksibi, M.; Pereira, R.; Haddioui, A. Metal concentrations and metal mobility in Ait Ammar Moroccan mining site. J Mater Environ Sci. 2014, 5, 271-280.

15. Nouri, M.; Haddioui A. Human and animal health risk assessment of metal contamination in soil and plants from Ait Ammar abandoned iron mine, Morocco. Environ Monit Assess. 2016, 188(1):6. DOI:10.1007/s10661-015-5012-6.

16. USEPA (United States environmental protection agency). Risk assessment guidance for superfund. EPA/540/1-89/002, (http://www.epa.gov). 1989.

17. USEPA. Screening levels (RSL) for chemical contaminants at superfund sites. U.S. Environmental protection agency. 2011.

18. USEPA. Supplemental guidance for developing soil screening levels for superfund sites. U.S. Environmental protection agency. p. 4-24. OSWER 9355. 2002.

19. USEPA. Integrated risk information system (IRIS). U.S. Environmental protection agency. 2011.

20. De Miguel, E.; Iribarren, I.; Chacon, E.; Ordonez, A.; Charlesworth, S. Risk-based evaluation of the exposure of children to trace elements in playgrounds in Madrid (Spain). Chemosphere. 2007, 66, 505-13.

21. Xu, X.; Li, Y.; Wang, Y.A.; Wang, Y.H. Assessment of toxic interactions of heavy metals in multi-component mixtures using sea urchin embryo-larval bioassay. Toxicol Vitro. 2011, 25, 294-300.

22. USDOE. The risk assessment information system (RAIS). U.S. department of energy's Oak Ridge operations office (ORO), Oak Ridge, TN, USA. 2011.

23. USEPA. Risk assessment guidance for superfund: volume III-part A, process for conducting probabilistic risk assessment, 20460. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental protection agency, office of emergency and remedial response; EPA 540-R-02-002. 2001.

24. USEPA. Integrated risk information system (IRIS), (http://www.epa.gov/iris/). 2014.

25. Guney, M.; Zagury, G.J.; Dogan, N.; Onay, T.T. Exposure assessment and risk characterization from trace elements following soil ingestion by children exposed to playgrounds, parks and picnic areas. J Hazard Mater. 2010, 182, 656-64.

26. Nouri, M.; Gonçalves, F.; Sousa, J.P.; Römbke, J.; Ksibi, M.; Pereira, R.; Haddioui, A. Metal uptake by spontaneous vegetation in an abandoned iron mine from a semiarid area in center Morocco: implications for phytoextraction. Environ Res Eng Manag. 2013, 64, 59-71.

27. Boularbah, A.; Schwartz, C.; Bitton, G.; Morel, J.L. Heavy metal contamination from mining sites in south Morocco: 1. Use of a biotest to assess metal toxicity of tailings and soils metal accumulation and toxicity in plants. Chemosphere. 2006, 63, 802-810.

28. Iavazzo, P.; Ducci, D.; Adamo, P.; Trifuoggi, M.; Migliozzi, A.; Boni, M. Impact of past mining activity on the quality of water and soil in the high Moulouya valley (Morocco). Water Air Soil Pollut. 2012, 223, 573-589.

29. Kelepertzis, E. Investigating the sources and potential health risks of environmental contaminants in the soils and drinking waters from the rural clusters in Thiva area (Greece). Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2014, 100, 258-265.

30. Ferreira-Baptista, L.; De Miguel, E. Geochemistry and risk assessment of street dust in Luanda, Angola: atropical urban environment. Atmos Environ. 2005, 39, 4501-4512.

Acta Chemica Iasi

The Journal of "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University from Iasi

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 270 148 11
PDF Downloads 132 84 10