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Potential Risk Assessment Of Metal Consumption In Food Crops Irrigated With Wastewater

M. U. Khan, Said Muhammad, R. N. Malik
Published 2014 · Environmental Science, Chemistry

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This study investigates the potential risk assessment via consumption of food crops irrigated with wastewater in the districts Sialkot and Gujranwala, Pakistan. For this purpose, samples of water, soil, and food crops were collected from the study area. Metals including potassium (K), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), copper (Cu), cobalt (Co), iron (Fe), and zinc (Zn) were analyzed using flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The concentration of Na was found highest in wastewater (WW), followed by Ca, Mg, etc., while lowest for Co. Similarly, in WW irrigated soil (WWIS) the highest concentration was found for Fe and lowest for Co, while other metal fall between these two extremes. Results showed significance (p < 0.001) using t-test among WW and WWIS as compared to tube well water (TW) and TW irrigated soil (TWIS). Food crops were assessed for daily intake of metal and health risk index (HRI), revealing an HRI < 1. However, if current practices continued it could cause health hazards in near future. Therefore, this study suggested that local farmers should be educated using awareness programs to avoid WW irrigation to the food crops.
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