Chemosphere ( IF 5.778 ) Pub Date : 2020-08-01 , DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.127835 Reza Dahmardeh Behrooz; D.G. Kaskaoutis; G. Grivas; N. Mihalopoulos
This study evaluates the bioaccessibility and health risks related to heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn and metalloid As) in airborne dust samples (TSP and PM2.5) in Zabol, Iran during the summer dust period, when peak concentration levels of PM are typically observed. High bioaccessibilities of carcinogenic metals in PM2.5 (i.e. 53.3%, 48.6% and 47.6% for Ni, Cr and As, respectively) were calculated. The carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health risks were assessed for three exposure pathways (inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact), separately for children and adults. Non-carcinogenic inhalation risks were very high (Hazard Index: HI > 1) both for children and adults, while the carcinogenic risks were above the upper acceptable threshold of 10−4 for adults and marginally close (5.0–8.4 × 10−5) for children. High carcinogenic risks (>10−4) were found for the ingestion pathway both for children and adults, while HI values > 1 (8.2) were estimated for children. Carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk estimates for dermal contact were also above the limits considered acceptable, except for the carcinogenic risk for children (7.6 × 10−5). Higher non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks (integrated for all elements) were associated with the inhalation pathway in adults and children with the exception of carcinogenic risk for children, where the ingestion route remains the most important, while As was linked with the highest risks for nearly all exposure pathways. A comparative evaluation shows that health risks related with toxic elements in airborne particles in Sistan are among the highest reported in the world.