Human Risk Assessment for Heavy Metals and as Contamination in the Abandoned Metal Mine Areas, Korea

Abstract  Cleanup goals for the contaminated sites are established on the basis of risk assessments and rely on the estimated toxicity of the chemicals of concern (COC). Toxicity estimates are based on bioavailability causing risk of adverse health effects on humans. In this study, bioavailability of As, Cu, Pb and Zn in soil was determined by SBET (Simple Bioavailability Extraction Test), and chemical analysis for groundwater and stream water collected from the abandoned mine areas (Dukeum, Dongil, Dongjung, Myungbong and Songchun mine areas) was conducted. High values of cancer risk for As (1.16×10−5) were detected through soil ingestion pathways in the Songchun mine area and assessed through water exposure pathways in the all mines except Dukeum. The hazard index value for As in the Songchun mine area (3.625) exceeded 1.0. The results indicated that the ingestion of As-contaminated soil and water by local inhabitants can pose a potential health threat in these mine areas.

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