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Title: Metal uptake by homegrown vegetables – The relative importance in human health risk assessments at contaminated sites

Risk assessments of contaminated land often involve the use of generic bioconcentration factors (BCFs), which express contaminant concentrations in edible plant parts as a function of the concentration in soil, in order to assess the risks associated with consumption of homegrown vegetables. This study aimed to quantify variability in BCFs and evaluate the implications of this variability for human exposure assessments, focusing on cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) in lettuce and potatoes sampled around 22 contaminated glassworks sites. In addition, risks associated with measured Cd and Pb concentrations in soil and vegetable samples were characterized and a probabilistic exposure assessment was conducted to estimate the likelihood of local residents exceeding tolerable daily intakes. The results show that concentrations in vegetables were only moderately elevated despite high concentrations in soil, and most samples complied with applicable foodstuff legislation. Still, the daily intake of Cd (but not Pb) was assessed to exceed toxicological thresholds for about a fifth of the study population. Bioconcentration factors were found to vary more than indicated by previous studies, but decreasing BCFs with increasing metal concentrations in the soil can explain why the calculated exposure is only moderately affected by the choice of BCF value when genericmore » soil guideline values are exceeded and the risk may be unacceptable. - Highlights: • Uptake of Cd and Pb by lettuce and potatoes increased with soil contamination. • Consumption of homegrown vegetables may lead to a daily Cd intake above TDIs. • The variability in the calculated BCFs is high when compared to previous studies. • Exposure assessments are most sensitive to the choice of BCFs at low contamination.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Department of Biology and Environmental Science, Linnaeus University, SE-391 82 Kalmar (Sweden)
  2. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg (Sweden)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22483288
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Research; Journal Volume: 138; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2015 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ABUNDANCE; CADMIUM; CONCENTRATION RATIO; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; HUMAN POPULATIONS; LEAD; LETTUCE; POTATOES; PROBABILISTIC ESTIMATION; RISK ASSESSMENT; SOILS