Ecological and human health risks assessment of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) contamination in surface soils of Shushtar and Dezful, southwest of Iran

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Soil Science, Ahvaz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran.



Background: The PTEs are one of the most dangerous pollutants in the environment and soil. In this study, were investigated the elements cadmium, lead, chromium, nickel, copper and zinc in the soil.

Methods: In this study, 144 composite samples were randomly prepared from surface soils to a depth of 10 cm from the cities of Shushtar and Dezful. Soil sampling was performed in 12 stations in Shushtar and Dezful. The PTEs were determined by ICP Varian 710-ES device.

Results: The pattern of accumulation of PTEs in the soil of Dezful was Cu>Pb>Cd>Zn>Ni>Cr, but in Shushtar the accumulation of metals in the soil was Cu>Pb>Cd>Ni>Zn>Cr. The concentration of Ni and Cr in the surface soils of Shushtar was higher than Dezful. The Ecological risk of Cd in the surface soils of Dezful and Shushtar was higher than other PTEs. The highest risk factor for carcinogenicity was related to Cr (3.15×10-7) for children. Hazard quotient (HQ) value of studied PTEs for adults and children were obtained by ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact absorption less than 1.

Conclusions: According to the results, the PTEs Cd, Pb and Cu caused high pollution in the soils of Shushtar and Dezful, which is due to agricultural, industrial and urban activities in these areas. In general, the metals Cr, Zn and Ni were slightly contaminated in the soil. The ecological risk of PTEs also showed that the highest share of effects on soil was related to Cd and Pb metals.


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