Exposure of human population to heavy metals through consumption of selected vegetables collected from local markets of north-western Indian Himalaya
Neha Sharma, Rajesh K Sharma, Sher S Samant, Veena Pande, Prince K Singh
Local anthropogenic activities such as market, vehicular and agricultural activities contribute heavy metals to vegetables and consumption of such vegetables can post health risk to human population. Therefore, in the present study, concentrations of heavy metal in frequently consumed vegetables in the Kullu valley of north-western Indian Himalaya and associated human health risks were assessed. Four vegetables namely, cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis), tomato (Solanumlycopersicum L.), radish (Raphanus sativus L.) and cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.var. capitata) were collected from the local markets of Kullu valley and were analyzed for Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The results showed that mean concentrations of Zn, Cd and Pb were found to be maximum in R. sativus (49.5 mg/kg dw, 2.7 mg/kg dw and 2.5 mg/kg dw, respectively) and Cu in B. oleracea var. botrytis (38.2 mg/kg dw). The concentration of heavy metals is significantly influenced by vegetables, sampling locations and their interaction (p<0.05). Except B. oleracea var. capitata, consumption of all the test vegetables can cause health risk to local population as health risk index value exceeds a unit for Cd. The results further showed that heavy metal load is found highest for S.lycopersicum, followed by R. sativus and B. oleracea var. capitata and least for B. oleracea var. botrytis. The study concludes that local anthropogenic Activities contribute heavy metal significantly to the tested vegetables and Cd can pose health risk to the human population by consuming these vegetables.