Assessment of Metal Pollution, Its Potential Health Risks, and Origin in Different Land Use Types in Zhuhai City, China

  • Zuobing Liang
  • Lei GaoEmail author
  • Xinfeng Zhao
  • Jianyao ChenEmail author
  • Zhenglan Xie
  • Shaoheng Li
  • Rui Li
  • Zhigang Yang


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the current status of metal concentrations in soil from Zhuhai City. We detected the concentrations of eight metal elements in 67 topsoil samples collected from three typical land use types (water source land, n = 27; industrial land, n = 25; and farmland, n = 15) in Zhuhai. Multivariate geostatistical analyses indicated that the concentrations of Cu, Zn, and Cd may have originated from anthropogenic sources, whereas Pb and As mostly originated from natural sources. Additionally, Cr, Ni, and Hg may have come from mixed sources. The pollution index and the potential ecological risk were used to identify the general contamination characteristics of soil metals. The soil samples from industrial land were more polluted (60% of soil samples in industrial land were unpolluted to moderately polluted, and 40% were moderately polluted) and posed greater risk (28.6% of industrial soil samples were very high risk, and 71.4% were considerable risk) than samples from water source land and farmland. On the whole, the health risks posed by soil metals were acceptable or close to tolerable, and Cd was the most important pollutant contributing to human health risks. Comparatively speaking, children were the most vulnerable population to the non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks of contaminated soils from industrial land. Our results provide fundamental information for improving soil environmental management and metal pollution prevention and control in Zhuhai City.



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41701585, 41771027 and 41611140112), the Fundamental Research Fund for the Central Universities of China (17lgpy40), and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong, China (2017A030310309), Guangdong Provincial Special Foundation for Promoting Economic Development (Marine Economic Development) (GDME-2018E005), INQUA 1616F G@GPS and the Scientific and Technological Innovation Project of the Water Sciences Department of Guangdong Province (2018–2021), and Project (No. KDL2011-04) supported by Karst Dynamics Laboratory, MLR and GZAR. Special thanks are given to the anonymous reviewers and editor for their valuable comments and suggestions, which improved the manuscript a lot.

Supplementary material

244_2018_590_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zuobing Liang
    • 1
  • Lei Gao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xinfeng Zhao
    • 2
  • Jianyao Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhenglan Xie
    • 1
  • Shaoheng Li
    • 1
  • Rui Li
    • 1
  • Zhigang Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Urbanization and Geo-simulation, School of Geography and PlanningSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Zhuhai Environmental Protection Monitoring StationZhuhaiPeople’s Republic of China

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