GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (7): 1193-1202.doi: 10.11821/yj2010070005

• Environment and Ecology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Particle size distribution and health risk assessment of heavy metals in surface dust of Wuhu urban area

FANG Feng-man1,2, JIANG Bing-yan1, WANG Hai-dong1, XIE Hong-fang1   

  1. 1. College of Territorial Resources and Tourism, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241003, China;
    2. Anhui Natural Disasters Process and Prevention-control Provincial-level Laboratories, Wuhu 241003,Anhui,China
  • Received:2010-01-07 Revised:2010-05-13 Online:2010-07-20 Published:2010-07-20


A total of 21 surface dust samples were collected in High-tech Development Zone, Center City, Economic and Technological Development Zone in Wuhu urban area. Concentrations of Zn, Cd, Pb, Co, Ni, Mn, Cr, V and Cu on different particle sizes were analyzed by ICP-OES in this paper. Research into the exposure and health risk assessment of heavy metals on the fine size dust was carried out by using USEPA health risk assessment model. Results showed that: the range of the change for the nine heavy metals in surface dust in Wuhu urban area was quite large and there exit different degrees of pollution, in which the average concentration of Cd was over 30 times of the soil background value. As far as the concentration was concerned, Economic and Technological Development Zone witnessed the highest concentrations of Zn, Cd, Pb, Co, Ni and Cu, High-tech Development Zone found the highest concentration of Mn, and Central City saw the highest concentrations of Cr and V. Particle size distribution had a significant influence on pollutant concentrations. Some 160-200 and >200 mesh sizes were at the main pollution level. Heavy metals were mainly enriched in the >200 mesh particle size and the enrichment ratio was about 50% in the order of Cd>Cu>Zn>Cr>Ni>Pb>Co>V>Mn. Human exposure risk assessment showed that hand-mouth intake was the main way for childrens' heavy metals exposure to fine particle size of surface dust, followed by skin absorption, and the exposure to heavy metals through air inhalation was the smallest. The order of non-cancerous hazard indexes of metals was Pb>Cr>Mn>V>Cu>Cd>Co>Ni>Zn. There were no significant risks, but the superposition of all the heavy metals on childrens' degree of non-cancer risk was up to 0.753, so we should pay more attention to cumulative pollution and potential risks. The non-cancerous risk indexes of the nine heavy metals from the three ways was 1.266 in Economic and Technological Development Zone, showing a potential non-cancerous risk to the health of the children. Cancer risks of Cr, Cd, Co and Ni were lower than their threshold values, indicating a lower risk of cancer and without health hazards.

Key words: surface dust, heavy metals, particle size distribution, enrichment ratio, health risk assessment