Assessment of the health risk associated with exposure to heavy metals present in particulate matter deposition in the Małopolska Province
Keywords:air pollution, particulate matter deposition, heavy metals, health risk assessment
The aim of the study was to investigate the content of trace elements in deposited particulate matter and to estimate the health risk to Kraków inhabitants, caused by the exposure to heavy metals in particulate matter deposition. The qualitative and quantitative assessments of selected heavy metals in deposited particulate matter have been carried out in the city of Kraków (Małopolska, southern Poland, 5 measuring points) for seven months, between February and September 2017. A comparative study was conducted at the same time in Małopolska (5 measuring points). The deposited particulate matter was collected gravitationally, using measurement plates covered with aluminum foil and paraffin jelly. The largest deposition of particulate matter was found in May and June. The highest amount of deposited particulate matter and metals present in it was determined in Kraków. The Hazard Quotient (HQ) evaluation for non-carcinogenic effect showed low risk for each metal. In the case of lead in particulate matter, the carcinogenic risk value did not reach 10−6 hence this risk is acceptable. The total carcinogenic risk for all routes of exposure to cadmium was higher, indicating the risk of cancer in children and adults, with children more exposed. However, the carcinogenic risk for cadmium was also acceptable. The study showed that the problem of poor air quality concerns not only the city of Kraków, but also the entire Małopolska region. Elevated metal concentrations in particulate matter indicate the need for monitoring it in the air.
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