DOI: 10.3390/su151713177 ISSN:

Multivariate Statistical Methods and GIS-Based Evaluation of Potable Water in Urban Children’s Parks Due to Potentially Toxic Elements Contamination: A Children’s Health Risk Assessment Study in a Developing Country

Junaid Ghani, Javed Nawab, Zahid Ullah, Naseem Rafiq, Shah Zaib Hasan, Sardar Khan, Muddaser Shah, Mikhlid H. Almutairi
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

Contamination of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) has received widespread attention in urban children’s parks (UCPs) worldwide in the past few decades. However, the risk assessment of PTEs in drinking water sources of UCPs is still unknown particularly in developing countries. Hence, the present study investigated the spatial distribution, sources for PTEs (Cd, Cr, Pb, Ni, and Cu), and health risk assessment in drinking water sources of UCPs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Among PTEs, Cd, Cr, and Pb had low to high concentrations and exceeded the safe limits of WHO and PAK-EPA in most UCPs. PCA results showed high anthropogenic and low natural sources, contributing to the release of PTEs in all UCPs. Heavy-metal pollution index (PTE-PI) results showed low to high pollution levels for all UCPs, with the highest values of 113 and 116 for Sardaryab Park Charsadda (SPC) and Zoo Park Peshawar (ZPP), respectively. Heavy-metal evaluation index (PTE-EI) results also showed low to high pollution levels for all UCPs. UCPs samples (50%) showed low pollution levels in PTE-PI results. To the contrary, UCPs samples (50%) exhibited high pollution levels in PTE-EI results. The non-carcinogenic risk of HQ and HI values of all PTEs were below the permissible limit (<1) for adults and children via ingestion and dermal contact. CR and TCR results showed that PTEs (Cr, Cd, Pb, and Ni) had the highest carcinogenic risk (>1.00 × 10−4) for both adults and children in all UCPs, except Cd and Ni for adults via the ingestion route, while Cr values (>1.00 × 10−4) were exceeded for children in some of the UCPs via the dermal route. Consequently, long-term exposure to toxic PTEs could pose a carcinogenic risk to the local population. Thus, the present study suggests that the government should implement enforcement with firm protocols and monitoring guidelines of environmental regulations to mitigate PTEs originating from anthropogenic sources in order to reduce health risks and improve public health safety in urban areas.

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