Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 2023–2038 | Cite as

Spatial analysis of chromium in southwestern part of Iran: probabilistic health risk and multivariate global sensitivity analysis

  • Mohamad SakizadehEmail author
  • Eisa Ahmadpour
  • Fatemeh Mehrabi Sharafabadi
Original Paper


This study was concerned with chromium as a potential carcinogenic contaminant in 64 wells located in five aquifers, southwest of Iran. A probabilistic health risk assessment indicated a high risk to the local residents including adults and children in the study area. A sequential sensitivity analysis and a novel approach known as multivariate global sensitivity analysis using both principal component analysis and B-spline were applied to investigate the behavior of health risk model along time considering four independent input parameters in the risk equation. In this context, based on the results of sensitivity analysis, concentration of chromium in drinking water (Cw) and body weight (W) were the most influential parameters. Random forest (RF) was used as a variable selection method to choose the most influential parameters for the prediction of chromium. Five parameters, among 13 water quality variables, including phosphate, nitrate, fluoride, manganese and iron were selected by RF as the most important parameters for spatial prediction. Hybrid methods of RF and ordinary kriging (RFOK) and RF and inverse distance weighting (RFIDW) were then applied for spatial prediction of Cr using the secondary variables. The RFOK and RFIDW were more efficient than that of ordinary kriging (OK) with respect to a cross-validation algorithm. For instance, in terms of relative root mean squared error, the performance of OK was improved from 31.72 to 23.21 and 23.61 for RFOK and RFIDW, respectively.


Random forest Sensitivity analysis Spatial prediction Probabilistic health risk assessment 



The aid of Khuzestan Water and Power Authority to execution of the current research is greatly appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10653_2019_260_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2254 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Management of Science and Technology DevelopmentTon Duc Thang UniversityHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  2. 2.Faculty of Environment and Labour SafetyTon Duc Thang UniversityHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  3. 3.Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical SciencesAhvazIran

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