G. Tepanosyan, N. Maghakyan, L. Sahakyan, A. Saghatelyan; Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 2017, 142, pp. 257-265; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.04.013
Children, the most vulnerable urban population group, are exceptionally sensitive to polluted environments, particularly urban soils, which can lead to adverse health effects upon exposure. In this study, the total concentrations of Ag, As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Ti, V, and Zn were determined in 111 topsoil samples collected from kindergartens in Yerevan. The objectives of this study were to evaluate heavy metal pollution levels of kindergarten's soils in Yerevan, compare with national legal and international requirements on heavy metal contents in kindergarten soil, and assess related child health risk. Multivariate geostatistical analyses suggested that the concentrations of Ag, As, Ba, Cd, Cu, Hg, Mo, Pb, and Zn observed in the kindergarten's topsoil may have originated from anthropogenic sources, while Co, Cr, Fe, Mn, Ni, Ti, and V mostly come from natural sources. According to the Summary pollution index (Zc), 102 kindergartens belong to the low pollution level, 7 to the moderate and only 2 to the high level of pollution. Summary concentration index (SCI) showed that 109 kindergartens were in the allowable level, while 2 featured in the low level of pollution. The health risk assessment showed that in all kindergartens except for seven, non-carcinogenic risk for children was detected (HI>1), while carcinogenic risk from arsenic belongs to the very low (allowable) level. Cr and multi-element carcinogenic risk (RI) exceeded the safety level (1.0E- 06) in all kindergartens and showed that the potential of developing cancer, albeit small, does exist. Therefore, city's kindergartens require necessary remedial actions to eliminate or reduce soil pollution and heavy metal-induced health risks.
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