Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 36, pp 36223–36238 | Cite as

Contamination characteristics and potential environmental implications of heavy metals in road dusts in typical industrial and agricultural cities, southeastern Hubei Province, Central China

  • Da-Mao Xu
  • Jia-Quan ZhangEmail author
  • Bo Yan
  • Hao Liu
  • Li-Li Zhang
  • Chang-Lin Zhan
  • Li Zhang
  • Ping Zhong
Research Article


In November 2013, the total concentration of selected heavy metals in 43 urban dust samples, collected from two small-sized cities of industrial E’zhou and agricultural Huanggang, located in the southeastern Hubei province, central China, was detected quantitatively by flame atomic absorption spectrometric (FAAS) for ultimate purpose of pollution monitoring and risk evaluation. Results indicated that the mean concentrations exceeding their respective background values were observed for all the investigated metals, with the exception of Co (13.08mg kg−1) and Fe (38635.02mg kg−1) in Huanggang road dusts, whose average concentrations were close to the background levels. In comparison with the reference data reported from the selected cities worldwide, the urban road dusts were seriously polluted by heavy metals to diverse degrees. The contour distribution maps implied that obviously higher values zones were found between two different types of urban areas, located to both sides of the coastline of Yangtze River. Multivariate statistical analysis revealed that the enriched heavy metals had emanated from the combined effects of both natural sources and anthropogenic sources. Three pollution indices indicated that the riskiest element mainly comprising Cr, Ni, Cu, and Pb appeared to be the major contributors to the urban environmental pollution. Avoiding continuous damage requires, the riskiest metallic contaminants should be paid preferential attention to.


Urban road dusts Heavy metals Contamination characteristics Environmental risk assessment 



The authors would like to sincerely thank the reviewers and the editor for their constructive comments that helped to improve the manuscript.

Funding information

This research was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC0212602), the Hubei Universities of Outstanding Young Scientific and Technological Innovation Team Plans (T201729), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41603117), and the Outstanding Youth Science and Technology Innovation Team Projects of Hubei Polytechnic University (13xtz07).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hubei Key Laboratory of Mine Environmental Pollution Control and Remediation, School of Environmental Science and EngineeringHubei Polytechnic UniversityHuangshiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.College of Resources and Environmental EngineeringWuhan University of Science and TechnologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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