Heavy metal concentration in vegetables and their potential risk for human health

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A. Feseha1,2, A.K. Chaubey1, A. Abraha3


1College of Natural & Computational Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
2College of Natural & Computational Sciences, Arba Minch University, Arba Minch, Ethiopia
3College of Natural and Computational Sciences, Samara University, Samara, Ethiopia


This study assesses heavy metal levels in the water, soil, and vegetables (swiss chard, lettuce, cabbage, collard green, tomato, green pepper, and carrot) irrigated with wastewater in Gamo, Ethiopia. The samples of soils, waters, and vegetables were randomly collected, processed, and analyzed for heavy metals using atomic absorption spectroscopy. The results obtained show that the mean concentrations of Cd, Cr, and Ni had the highest concentration, and Pb, Zn, and Cu had the lowest concentration in irrigation waters. The levels of Cd in the Kulfo river area and Chamo Lake area and Cu in most of the farm soils were also found to be higher than the guideline values. The study also revealed that the mean levels of Cd in most vegetables and Cr and Pb in some vegetables were higher than the maximum recommended limits set by the World Health Organization / Food and Agriculture Organization 2001. Among the vegetables, cabbage had the highest heavy metal content followed by Swiss-chard, carrot, tomato, collard green, green pepper, and lettuce. The Hazard quotient of Cu, and Ni of all samples of vegetables and Cd in some samples vegetables obtained exceeded unity. It signifies that there are potential health risks to the consumers. This study recommends regular monitoring of heavy metals in soils, waters, and foodstuffs to prevent excessive accrual in the food chain.

Heavy Metals, pollution, vegetables, hazard quotient, risk assessment, safety, human health, FAAS
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