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Cadmium Health Risk Assessment and Anthropogenic Sources of Pollution in Mount-Lebanon Springs

  • Dana A. Halwani
  • Mey Jurdi
  • Fatima K. Abu Salem
  • Miran A. Jaffa
  • Nabil Amacha
  • Rima R. Habib
  • Hassan R. DhainiEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Cadmium (Cd) is a highly toxic heavy metal with low permissible limits. This study aims at conducting a health risk assessment for Cd and examining potential sources of pollution in springs of the Mount-Lebanon Governorate, a semi-urbanized area in Lebanon. A total of 31 spring samples were collected during the wet and dry seasons and tested for water quality. Graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry was used to quantify Cd levels in water. Risk assessment was performed by means of a survey on water consumption and usage, and followed the USEPA Hazard Quotient (HQ) model. Correlations with different human activities were examined using different linear regression models and spatial analysis tools. Results highlight springs within El Metn and Keserwan Districts as posing a non-carcinogenic health risk in (1) Ain Saadeh both in adults (HQwet = 1.94) and iron-deficient children (HQwet = 1.29), and (2) Faraya both in healthy (HQwet = 1.33; HQdry = 1.19) and iron-deficient children (HQwet = 2.67; HQdry = 2.37), as well as in iron-deficient adults (HQwet = 1.57; HQdry = 1.39). In addition, Cd levels increased significantly with proximity to upstream open dumps (Pearson’s r = − 0.511; p = 0.003), agricultural land surface area, increased upstream industrial activity, mainly jewelry and fine stones industries in both bivariate (r = 0.33; p = 0.001) and multivariate analyses (r = 0.41; p = 0.002), plastic industries (Pearson’s r = 0.36; p = 0.05), and furniture manufacturing (Pearson’s r = 0.38; p = 0.038). Our findings constitute the first report assessing Cd health risk and identifying sources of pollution in Mount-Lebanon, and make a strong basis for a risk management strategy.

Keywords

Cadmium Health risk assessment Water pollution Heavy metals Lebanon 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Mr. Ricardo Khoury at ELARD Group for providing data on aquifer flow directions, and Dr. Ali Koumaiha at the Lebanese University for his help in acquiring data on industrial activities in Mount-Lebanon. Special thanks to the Associate Research Unit on Potable Water Quality and Management (Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research, AUB, LAU, and LU) for funding this research project.

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health SciencesAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Arts and SciencesAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Faculty of Health SciencesAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  4. 4.Department of Biology & Earth Science, Faculty of ScienceLebanese UniversityBeirutLebanon

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