Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, is the social, political, and economic center of the country. Significant levels of PM10-bound As metalloid and metals have been found in the city, which poses possible adverse health risks to the residents from inhalation exposure. Therefore, this study focuses on the health risk assessment of age-dependent cancer and non-cancer using exposure pathway and human respiratory tract (HRT) mass deposition models. In the case of non-cancer risks, the hazard quotient (HQ) of As via ingestion exposure and the hazard index (HI) was found to be significant (> 1) for the children. The cancer risks through ingestion pathway (CRing) were estimated in the order of 10−4 and 10−5 for children and adult groups, respectively. The overall CRing levels for children were estimated slightly higher than the acceptable level of cancer risk (1 × 10−4) at all locations throughout the study area. Moreover, the risks of cancer through the inhalation (CRinh) and incremental lifetime cancer risks (ILCR) due to HRT mass deposition were found to be significant (> 10−6) and with very small discrepancy in risk levels for both age groups. Furthermore, possible sources of the PM10-bound metalloid (As) and metals were predicted through correlation, principal component, and enrichment factor analysis. The results of source apportionment study indicated the local anthropogenic emission sources (vehicular, biomass/coal/oil combustion, industrial), road dust re-suspension, and trans-boundary sources were responsible for the pollution levels in Seoul, South Korea. The health risks can be minimized by reducing the pollution levels of particulate matter at source.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful to the National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER), Republic of Korea, for providing research support. In addition, the first author is grateful to the Korea Research Fellowship organization committee for postdoctoral research funding in Korea (KRF Project Grant No. 2016H1D3A1938213).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis