Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 34, pp 34623–34635 | Cite as

Heavy metal quantification of classroom dust in school environment and its impacts on children health from Rawang (Malaysia)

  • Sock Yin Tan
  • Sarva Mangala PraveenaEmail author
  • Emilia Zainal Abidin
  • Manraj Singh Cheema
Research Article


This study aimed to determine bioavailable heavy metal concentrations (As, Cd, Co, Cu, Cr, Ni, Pb, Zn) and their potential sources in classroom dust collected from children’s hand palms in Rawang (Malaysia). This study also aimed to determine the association between bioavailable heavy metal concentration in classroom dust and children’s respiratory symptoms. Health risk assessment (HRA) was applied to evaluate health risks (non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic) due to heavy metals in classroom dust. The mean of bioavailable heavy metal concentrations in classroom dust found on children’s hand palms was shown in the following order: Zn (1.25E + 01 μg/g) > Cu (9.59E-01 μg/g) > Ni (5.34E-01 μg/g) > Cr (4.72E-02 μg/g) > Co (2.34E-02 μg/g) > As (1.77E-02 μg/g) > Cd (9.60E-03 μg/g) > Pb (5.00E-03 μg/g). Hierarchical cluster analysis has clustered 17 sampling locations into three clusters, whereby cluster 1 (S3, S4, S6, S15) located in residential areas and near to roads exposed to vehicle emissions, cluster 2 (S10, S12, S9, S7) located near Rawang town and cluster 3 (S13, S16, S1, S2, S8, S14, S11, S17, S5) located near industrial, residential and plantation areas. Emissions from vehicles, plantations and industrial activities were found as the main sources of heavy metals in classroom dust in Rawang. There is no association found between bioavailable heavy metal concentrations and respiratory symptoms, except for Cu (OR = 0.03). Health risks (non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks) indicated that there are no potential non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks of heavy metals in classroom dust toward children health.


Heavy metal Classroom dust Children Respiratory symptoms Health risks Carcinogenic Non-carcinogenic 



The first author also wishes to express her appreciation to the Ministry of Higher Education for providing the MyPhD scholarship and the Ministry of Education for approving this study to be conducted in government primary schools in Rawang. Special thanks to the headmasters, headmistresses, teachers, school children and parents from the primary schools in Rawang for their cooperation and permission to carry out this study.

Funding information

The Science Fund (Vot Number: 5450808) is from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and Geran Putra-Inisiatif Putra Siswazah (Vot Number: 9477700) from Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Compliance with ethical standards

Permission to conduct this study and written ethical approval were obtained from the Ministry of Education (Malaysia) with reference number KP(BPPDP)603/5/JLD.06 (268) and the Ethical Committee for Research Involving Human Subjects (Universiti Putra Malaysia) with reference number UPM/TNCPI/RMC/ (JKEUPM)/F2, respectively.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3396_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 13 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia

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