Soil heavy metal contamination and health risk assessment associated with development zones in Shandong, China

  • Huimin Zhuo
  • Sanze Fu
  • Heng Liu
  • Hui Song
  • Lijun RenEmail author
Research Article


Heavy metal pollution in soils of development zones has attracted wide attention. In this study, soil heavy metal pollution levels and health risks in 15 selected development zones in Shandong Province were investigated for the first time. Geo-accumulation and potential ecological risk indexes were used to assess pollution levels, and health risk was assessed using the US Environmental Protection Agency model. The soil was contaminated by various heavy metals, among which Hg was dominant. A total of 19% of the monitoring sites showed moderate ecological risk level, and low risk level was observed in general. Pollution control of Hg and Cd in each development zone must be strengthened. Health risk analysis showed that noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic risk levels for adults and children were acceptable or nearly acceptable. Positive matrix factorization model was used to identify three possible sources of heavy metal pollution, namely, industrial sources, atmospheric deposition, and transportation. Some specific measures should be taken to prioritize the control of Hg, As, and Cr for protecting the soil environment and human health, especially vulnerable groups, such as children.


Development zone Heavy metal pollution Potential ecological risk Health risk Source apportionment 



We thank the anonymous reviewers for their insights and critical review of the manuscript. We also thank’s professional editors for the language review. We also thank our teachers and classmates for their support.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41301649) and the Shandong Natural Science Foundation (No. ZR2018ZC2362).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5979_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 30 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huimin Zhuo
    • 1
  • Sanze Fu
    • 1
  • Heng Liu
    • 1
  • Hui Song
    • 1
  • Lijun Ren
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringShandong UniversityJimoPeople’s Republic of China

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