Atmospheric particulate matter (PM) pollution levels and human health risks resulting from exposure to non-anthropogenic pollution sources, such as coal mine-fires, are serious global issues. The toxicity of PM10-bound metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was assessed according to their non-cancer and cancer risks (CRs) at the mine-fire and in an adjacent city area. Health risks were estimated for inhalation, ingestion, and dermal absorption pathways. The non-cancer risks, presented in terms of the hazard index (HI) and hazard quotient (HQ), were found to be significant (>1) at all locations, except in the mining (for HQ-dermal) and city background area (for HQ-ingestion and HQ-dermal) in children and adults, respectively. The total CR was estimated to be highest at the city nearby the mine-fire area (3.31E-02 and 1.93E-02) followed by the mine-fire area (2.66E-02 and 1.71E-02) for children and adults, respectively. The total CR and CR via individual exposure routes were estimated to be in the high risk (10−3 ≤ CR < 10−1) category at the mine-fire site and adjacent city area. For all exposures, CR levels were calculated to be higher than the acceptable range (from 1.00E-06 to 1.00E-04), except for the CR-inhalation level at the A5 location. Among all elements, Cd and BaPequ were more significant for the CR at the coal mine-fire and the adjacent city area. Hence, this study concluded that non-anthropogenic sources, such as coal mine-fires, could be part for the significant health risk (carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic) levels in the study area. Coal-mine-fire was identified as a significant contributor of carcinogens in a critically polluted coal mining area.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The first author is thankful to the IIT (ISM), Dhanbad, for providing the Junior Research Fellowship to carry out this study, and to the Dean and Director of Yonsei University, South Korea, for providing a platform for the research. The first author is also thankful to the Korea Research Fellowship organization committee for postdoctoral research funding in Korea [ KRF Project Grant No. 2016H1D3A1938213 ].
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis