Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 2155–2175 | Cite as

Distribution of heavy metals and associated human health risk in mine, agricultural and roadside soils at the largest chromite mine of India

  • Aliya Naz
  • Abhiroop ChowdhuryEmail author
  • Brijesh Kumar Mishra
  • K. Karthikeyan
Original Paper


This study accessed the levels of Cd, Cr, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn concentration in soils of different locations (mine, roadside, agricultural and control sites) of Sukinda chromite mine (the India’s largest Chromite mine and listed among the world’s ten most polluted regions). Geo-accumulation (Igeo) index indicates that the mine, agricultural and roadside soils are ‘heavily to extremely contaminated’ due to Cr, Ni, Pb and Cd, hence human residing/working in this region can have health hazards due to contaminated soil via different exposure pathways. The concentration of heavy metals (mg/kg) in mine site vary between 52.35 and 244.8 (Cr6+), 12,030.2 and 31,818.6 (Cr3+), 5460.4 and 8866.0 (Ni), 70.02 and 208.6 (Pb), 0.95 and 5.3 (Cd), 209.1 and 360.4 (Mn), 21,531.8 and 28,847 (Fe) and 221 and 349.3 (Zn). Fe, Cr6+, Cr3+ and Ni concentration in soil follows an order of mine site > road sites > agricultural lands > control forest sites. Principal component analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis indicate Cd, Cr, Fe, Ni and Pb as major pollutants in the region. Cancer Risk is ‘high’ in both adult (5.38E−04) and children (4.45E−04) in mining sites and ‘low’ to ‘very low’ in agricultural and road side soils. The hazard index for all the heavy metals in a mining areas is varied from 2.9 to 5.2 in adult and 2.8–5.1 in children, indicating ‘high’ to ‘very high’ non-cancer risk due to significant contribution of Ni, Pb and Cr6+ concentration (73, 11 and 10%, respectively).


Cancer risk Health hazard Heavy metals Soil Sukinda 



The first (Ad no. 2013DR0064) and second author (Ad no. 2013 DR0015) is indebted to the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad, India, and ‘Ministry of Human Resource Development’ (MHRD), Government of India, for providing research facilities and fellowship.

Author’s contribution

NA Taken major role in sample collection, analysis, health risk assessment and interpretation of data, as well as drafting of manuscript. CA Experiment and sampling design, taken major role in the design of research objectives, interpretation of results, helped 1st author in sample collection, analysis and aided in drafting of manuscript. MBK Research Guide of first author (NA) and taken a supervisory role in controlling the quality of laboratory analysis, providing laboratory facilities and instrumental in technical improvement in manuscript. KK Responsible for improving English grammar and consistency of the final manuscript.

Supplementary material

10653_2018_90_MOESM1_ESM.docx (57 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 56 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Laboratory DivisionGujarat Institute of Desert EcologyBhujIndia
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines)DhanbadIndia
  3. 3.Coastal and Marine Ecology DivisionGujarat Institute of Desert EcologyBhujIndia

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