Assessment of Heavy Metals Contamination and the Risk of Target Hazard Quotient in Some Vegetables in Isfahan

Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 Department of Agronomy, University of Zabol, Zabol, Iran

2 Soil and Water Department, Agricultural and Natural Resources Research Center, Agricultural Research Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Isfahan, Iran

3 Department of Soil Sciences, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran


The main objective of this study is to evaluate heavy metals contamination of highly consumed vegetables and hazardous effects of consuming these vegetables. The study was conducted in vegetable fields in three different regions according to the level of environmental pollutions, including "Isfahan", "Flavarjan" and "Faridan, Golpayegan and Natanz". Six types of vegetables in each field with three replicates in each region were selected in the summer of 2017 by the random sampling method from vegetable fields. The level of heavy metals (Pb, Cu, Co, Cd and Cr) in vegetables has been measured for each sample. The result showed that in the Isfahan region, the highest daily intake of Pb, Cu, Co, Cd and Cr for the consumption of all the vegetables was obtained in the recipients. The highest target hazard quotient for non-cancerous diseases of contaminated vegetables was 28.9 and 21.1 in "Isfahan" for children and adults, respectively. The target hazard quotient for vegetable consumption was greater than one and at high hazard for both age groups. The principal component analysis showed that the contamination by the heavy metals in the "Isfahan" and "Falavarjan" regions overlapped and the risk of contamination of heavy metals in urban vegetables in both regions increased the hazard of non-cancerous diseases. It is highly recommended that the quality standards of foods that are imposed on the production of food crops.


Abad-Garcia, B., Berrueta, L. A., Garmon-Lobato, S., Urkaregi, A. and Vicente, B. (2012). Chemo metric characterization of fruit juice from Spanish cultivars according to their phenolic compound contents: I Citrus Fruits. J. Agri. Food Chem., 60; 3635–3644.

Aghili, F., Khoshgoftarmanesh, A. H., Afyuni, M. and Schulin R. (2009). Health risks of heavy metals through consumption of greenhouse vegetables grown in central Iran. Human Ecol. Risk Asses., 15; 999-1015.

Ali, H., Khan, E. and Ilahi, I. (2019). Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology of Hazardous Heavy Metals: Environmental Persistence, Toxicity, and Bioaccumulation. J. Chem., 67; 14-18.

Amiri, Z., Asgharipour, M. R., Campbell, D. E., and Armin, M. (2019). A sustainability analysis of two rapeseed farming ecosystems in Khorramabad, Iran, based on emergy and economic analyses. J. Clean. Prod., 226; 1051-1066.

Asgharipour, M. R., Shahgholi, H., Campbell, D. E., Khamari, I., and Ghadiri, A. (2019). Comparison of the sustainability of bean production systems based on emergy and economic analyses. Environ. Monit. Assess. 191(1), 2. /

Baghaie, A. H. and Fereydoni, M. (2019). The potential risk of heavy metals on human health due to the daily consumption of vegetables. Environ. Health Engin. Manage. J., 6(1); 11–16.

Bo, S., Mei1, L., Tongbin, C., Yuanming, Z., Yunfeng, X., Xiaoyan, L. and Ding, G. (2009). Assessing the health risk of heavy metals in vegetables to the general population in Beijing, China. J. Environ. Sci., 21; 1702-1709.

Bordean, D. M., Gergen, I., Gogoaşă, I., Oprea, G., Pirvulescu, L., Alda, L. M., Alda, S, Breica, B. A. and Harmanescu, M. (2011). Mathematical model evaluation of heavy metal contamination in vegetables and fruits. J. Food, Agri. Environ., 9(1); 680–683.

Cherfi, A., Cherfi, M., Maache-Rezzoug, Z. and Rezzoug, S. A. (2016). Risk assessment of heavy metals via consumption of vegetables collected from different supermarkets in La Rochelle, France. Environ. Monit. Assess., 1; 136-188.

Cui, Y. J., Zhu, Y. G., Zhai, R., Huang, Y., Qiu, Y. and Liang, J. (2005). Exposure to metal mixtures and human health impacts in a contaminated area in Nanning, China. Environ. Int., 31; 784–790.

Esmaeilzadeh S, Asgharipour MR, Bazrgar AB, Soufizadeh S, Karandish F. Assessing the carbon footprint of irrigated and dryland wheat with a life cycle approach in bojnourd. Environ Prog  Sustain. 2019.

FAO/WHO. (2011). Food additives and Contaminants. Joint Codex Alimentarius Commission, FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. FAO/WHO, Rome, Italy.

Food & Feed-Maximum limit of heavy metals. (2010). National Standard of Iran N. 12968, Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran. 1st. Edition 1389 ]in Persian[.

Gergen, I. and Harmanescu, M. (2012). Application of principal component analysis in the pollution assessment with heavy metals of vegetable food chain in the old mining areas. Chem. Cent. J., 6, 1-13.

Ghahremanzadeh, H., Noori, R., Baghvand, A., and Nasrabadi, T. (2018). Evaluating the main sources of groundwater pollution in the southern Tehran aquifer using principal component factor analysis. Environmental geochemistry and health, 40(4), 1317-1328.

Gupta, S., Jena, V., Jena, S., Davic, N., Matic, N., Radojevic, D. and Solanki, J. S. (2013). Assessment of heavy metal contents of green leafy vegetables. Croatian J. Food Sci. Technol., 5(2); 53-60.

Hammer, Ø., Harper, D. A. T. and Ryan, P. D. (2001). Past: Paleontological Statistics Software Package for Education and Data Analysis. Palaeontol Electron., 4(1); 4-9.

Harmanescu, M., Alda, L. M., Bordean, D. M., Gogoasa I. and Gergen I. (2011). Heavy metals health risk assessment for population via consumption of vegetables grown in old mining area; a case study: Banat County Romania. Chem. Cent. J., 5(1); 1-10.

Jafari, M., Asgharipour, M. R., Ramroudi, M., Galavi, M., and Hadarbadi, G. (2018). Sustainability assessment of date and pistachio agricultural systems using energy, emergy and economic approaches. J. Clean. Prod., 193; 642-651.

Li, M. S., Luo, Y. P. and Su, Z. Y. (2006). Heavy metal concentrations in soils and plant accumulation in a restored manganese mineland in Guangxi, South China. Environ. Pollut., 147; 75-168.

Liu, X., Song, Q., Tang, Y., Li, W., Xu, J., Wu, J., Wang, F. and Brookes, P. C. (2013). Human health risk assessment of heavy metals in soil–vegetable system: A multi-medium analysis. Sci. Total Environ., 463; 530–540.

Lv, P., Wei, Z., Yu, Z., Zhang, J. and Wang, L. (2019). Heavy metal contamination in soils of greenhouse vegetable production systems in a cold region of China. Int. J. Agric. Biol. Eng., 12(2); 98-103.

Matyssek, R., Schulin, R. and Günthardt-Goerg, M. S. (2006). Metal fluxes and stresses in terrestrial ecosystems: synopsis towards holistic understanding. Forest Snow Land. Res., 80(2); 139–148.

McBride, M. B., Shayler, H. A. and Spliethoff, H. M. (2014). Concentrations of lead, cadmium and barium in urban garden-grown vegetables: the impact of soil variables. Environ. Pollut., 194; 254-271.

Moradi, A., Honarjoo, N., Najafi, P. and Fallahzade, J. (2016). Human health risk assessment of soil and crops contaminated by heavy metals in industrial regions, central Iran. Human Ecol. Risk Asses., 22; 153-167.

Nasrabadi, T., Maedeh, P. A., Sirdari, Z. Z., Bidabadi, N. S., Solgi, S. and Tajik, M. (2015). Analyzing the quantitative risk and hazard of different waterborne arsenic exposures: case study of Haraz River, Iran. Environ Earth Sci., 74; 521-532.

Orisakwe, O. E., Nduka, J. K., Amadi, C. N., Dike, D. O. and Bede, O. (2012). Heavy metals health risk assessment for population via consumption of food crops and fruits in Owerri, South Eastern, Nigeria. Chem. Cent. J., 6; 77-81.

Pop, H. F., Einax, J. W. and Sârbu, C. (2009). Classical and fuzzy principal component analysis of some environmental samples concerning the pollution with heavy metals. Chem. Int. Lab. Syst., 97; 25–32.

Salehipour, M., Ghorbani, H., Kheirabadi, H. and Afyuni, M. (2015). Health Risks from Heavy Metals via Consumption of Cereals and Vegetables in Isfahan Province, Iran. Human and Ecol. Risk Asses., 10; 1–16.

Sandeep, G., Vijayalatha, K. R. and Anitha, T. (2019). Heavy metals and its impact in vegetable crops. Int. J. Chem. Stud., 7(1); 1612-1621.

Singh, A., Sharma, R. K., Agrawal, M. and Marshall, F. M. (2010). Risk assessment of heavy metal toxicity through contaminated vegetables from waste water irrigated area of Varanasi, India. Trop. Ecol., 51(2), 375–387.

Srinivas, N., Ramakrishna, R. S. and Kumar, S. K. (2009). Trace metal accumulation in vegetables grown in industrial and semi-urban areas – a case study. App. Ecol. Environ. Res., 7; 131–139.

USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). (2010). Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS); United States Environmental Protection Agency: Washington, DC, USA, Available online:

USEPA (US Environmental Protection Agency). (2005). Human health risk assessment: Risk-based concentration table.

Wu, H., Yang, F., Li, H., Li, Q., Zhang, F., Ba, Y., Cui, L., Sun, L., Ly, T., Wang, N. and Zhu, J. (2019). Heavy metal pollution and health risk assessment of agricultural soil near a smelter in an industrial city in China.Int. J. Environ. Health Res. 27; 1-13.