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Environmental trends of metals and PCDD/Fs around a cement plant after alternative fuel implementation: human health risk assessment

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Abstract

This study aimed at evaluating the potential impact of a cement plant after 4 years of the employment of alternative fuel. In June 2015, concentrations of PCDD/Fs and metals were determined in soils, vegetation and air in order to measure potential changes with respect to previous surveys before (July 2011) and after (June 2013) the employment of alternative fuel. Risks to human health were also assessed. In soils, metal levels were similar to those observed in June 2013 (p > 0.05). In comparison with July 2011, the increment was only statistically significant for As and Cd (p < 0.05). A notable increase in levels of PCDD/Fs was noted when current levels in soils (1.14 ng WHO-TEQ per kg) were compared with those observed in July 2011 (0.37 ng WHO-TEQ per kg) (p > 0.05) and June 2013 (0.41 ng WHO-TEQ per kg) (p < 0.05). This increase was mainly caused by the increase in PCDD/F levels at one sampling site, which showed the heterogeneity of PCDD/F levels in soils, possibly as a result of different point emissions over the years. On the other hand, temporal trends in levels of metals and PCDD/Fs in vegetation showed a clear decrease, which indicated that the particle fraction of these pollutants would potentially be removed from leaf surfaces by wash-off. In air, levels were similar to those found in previous surveys. The results of PCA showed that the change in fuel had not affected the environmental profiles of metals and PCDD/Fs around the cement plant. The exposure of the population living in the surroundings of the plant was measured and it was shown that diet was the major contributor for both metals and PCDD/Fs, with percentages of over 97%, the only exceptions being As and Pb, for which dietary intake accounted for 43% and 71% of the total exposure, respectively. Environmental non-cancer and cancer risks were within the limits considered as acceptable by international standards.

Graphical abstract: Environmental trends of metals and PCDD/Fs around a cement plant after alternative fuel implementation: human health risk assessment

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Mar 2017, accepted on 11 May 2017 and first published on 31 May 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EM00121E
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2017, Advance Article
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    Environmental trends of metals and PCDD/Fs around a cement plant after alternative fuel implementation: human health risk assessment

    M. Mari, J. Rovira, F. Sánchez-Soberón, M. Nadal, M. Schuhmacher and J. L. Domingo, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7EM00121E

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