Environmental health and toxicology

Assessing the health risk of heavy metals in vegetables to the generalpopulation in Beijing, China

SONG Bo , LEI Mei , CHEN Tongbin , ZHENG Yuanming , XIE Yunfeng , LI Xiaoyan , GAO Ding


Received January 06, 2009,Revised April 28, 2009, Accepted , Available online

Volume 21,2009,Pages 1702-1709

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A systematic survey of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn concentrations in vegetables from 416 samples (involving 100 varieties) in Beijing was carried out for assessing the potential health risk to local inhabitants. The results indicated that the metal concentrations in vegetables ranged from < 0.001 to 0.479 g/g fresh weight (fw) (As), < 0.001 to 0.101 g/g fw (Cd), < 0.001 to 1.04 g/g fw (Cr), 0.024 to 8.25 g/g fw (Cu), 0.001 to 1.689 g/g fw (Ni), < 0.001 to 0.655 g/g fw (Pb) and 0.01 to 25.6 g/g fw (Zn), with average concentrations of 0.013, 0.010, 0.023, 0.51, 0.053, 0.046 and 2.55 g/g fw, respectively. The results showed that the concentrations of As, Cr, Cu, Cd, Pb and Ni in vegetables from open-fields were all significantly higher than those grown in greenhouses. In addition, in local-produced vegetables, all HMs except Zn were significantly higher than those in provincial vegetables. The estimated daily intake (EDI) of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn from vegetables was 0.080, 0.062, 0.142, 3.14, 0.327, 0.283 and 15.7 g/(kg body weight (bw) d) for adults, respectively. Arsenic was the major risk contributor for inhabitants since the target hazard quotient based on the weighted average concentration (THQw) of arsenic amounted to 44.3% of the total THQ (TTHQ) value according to average vegetable consumption. The TTHQ was lower than 1 for all age groups, indicating that it was still safe for the general population of Beijing to consume vegetables.

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