Human Health Risk Assessment from the Consumption of Vegetables Grown near a Copper Smelter in Central Chile

Nilo Lizardi, Marcelo Aguilar, Manuel Bravo, Tatyana A. Fedorova, Alexander Neaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The intake of trace elements (TEs) through the consumption of vegetables is a subject of great concern. This study intends to evaluate human health risks associated with consumption of vegetables grown near the Ventanas copper smelter (Valparaiso region, Central Chile). Experimental plots were established in the proximity of the smelter and in a control area. Leafy vegetables (lettuce, chard, and cabbage) and root vegetables (potato, carrot, and beetroot) were grown on the experimental plots. Daily intake of elements was estimated based on consumption habits. A hazard quotient (HQ) was calculated as a ratio between the daily intake and the reference dose that represents the maximum safe TE intake. Generally, concentrations of TEs in the edible tissues of vegetables were higher in the exposure area than in the control area. The most significant difference was for leafy vegetables, with arsenic (As) being the main TE of concern. Lettuce was also the vegetable of concern due to its relatively high consumption rate and a relatively high concentration of TEs in the plant tissue. In this study, we obtained an HQ value of ~ 0.6 for inorganic As considering vegetable consumption pathway, for the age group of 1–5 years old. Likewise, our previous study reported a similar HQ value of ~ 0.6 for inorganic As considering incidental soil and dust ingestion pathway, for the same age group. Importantly, HQ value surpasses 1.0 for inorganic As considering both exposure pathways. Thus, there is a health risk associated with soil As for inhabitants of Puchuncavi Valley.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1472-1479
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chronic daily intake
  • Exposure assessment
  • Hazard quotient
  • Puchuncavi Valley

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