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Sources evaluation, ecological and health risk assessment of potential toxic metals (PTMs) in surface soils of an industrial area, India

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The present study aims to appraise the spatial distribution of potential toxic metals by using geostatistical technique and find their associated ecological and human health risks from surface soils of Durgapur industrial area, India. The results show that the mean metal concentrations are 116.03, 32.96, 154.37, 321.20, 50.08, 29.54 and 2.97 mg/kg for Pb, Cd, Cr, Fe, Cu, Ni and Hg, respectively, and majority of them is found higher than their background and world natural soil concentrations. The GIS contour map of pollution load index values clearly distinguished the studied sampling area is highly to very highly polluted by the toxic metals. Contamination factor (Cf) and geo-accumulation index (Igeo) values of studied metals show a similar sequence of Hg > Cd > Pb > Fe > Cr > Ni > Cu. Calculated enrichment factor (EF) value for Hg (13.29), Cd (5.26) and Pb (1.11) in studied soils was found significantly higher, which suggests that their primary sources are higher industrial activities in the studied area. Computation of potential ecological risk index reveals that the entire study area is under high risk level (1941.60–3367.23), in which Cd (588.52) and Hg (1979.26) possess the maximum ecological risk factor in all the sampling sites. The results of correlation analysis, principle component analysis and cluster analysis explore that industrial discharges, atmospheric disposition and waste disposal are the major sources of soil metal pollution in the studied region. Human health hazard indices are lower than 1 for all metals, indicating low non-carcinogenic risks to children and adults. Carcinogenic risk assessment reveals the existence of cancer risk of Cd (5.5E−03), Cr (8.6E−04) and Ni (3.0E−04) to child and Cd (8.2E−04) and Cr (1.3E−04) to adults in Durgapur.

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Authors sincerely acknowledge DST-FIST (SR/FST/CSI-267/2015 (C)) and National Institute of Technology (NIT), Durgapur, for creating and providing infrastructural facilities throughout the research work. Authors also greatly acknowledge DST, GOI, for partial financial support (Project No. SB/EMEQ-115/2013 dated 08.07.2013).

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Correspondence to Rajnarayan Saha.

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Pobi, K.K., Nayek, S., Gope, M. et al. Sources evaluation, ecological and health risk assessment of potential toxic metals (PTMs) in surface soils of an industrial area, India. Environ Geochem Health (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-020-00517-2

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  • Risk assessment
  • Potential toxic metals
  • Industrial soil
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Pollution indices