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Mercury Contamination In Selected Foodstuffs And Potential Health Risk Assessment Along The Artisanal Gold Mining, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

Arjumand Riaz, Sardar Khan, Said Muhammad, Caihong Liu, Mohammad Tahir Shah, Mohsin Tariq
Published 2017 · Geology, Medicine
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This study investigates the mercury (Hg) contaminations in soil and foodstuffs along the artisanal gold mining areas, Gilgit-Baltistan Province, Pakistan. For this purpose, soils were analyzed for Hg concentrations and evaluated for the enrichment/contamination using enrichment factor or contamination factors (CF). The CF values ranged from 18.9 to 153 showed multifold higher levels of Hg contamination as compared to background or reference site. Foodstuffs including vegetables, seeds or grains and fish muscles showed Hg accumulation. Results revealed that Hg concentrations in foodstuffs were higher than the critical human health value set by European Union. The Hg in foodstuffs was consumed and, therefore, evaluated for the risk assessment indices using the daily intake (DI) and health risk index (HRI) for the exposed human population both children and adults. Results of this study revealed that cumulative HRI values through foodstuffs consumption were <1 (within safe limit), but if the current practices continued, then the Hg contamination could pose potential threat to exposed population in near future.
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