Home gardening near a mining site in an arsenic-endemic region of Arizona: Assessing arsenic exposure dose and risk via ingestion of home garden vegetables, soils, and water

Monica D. Ramirez-Andreotta, Mark L. Brusseau, Paloma Beamer, Raina M. Maier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

The human-health risk posed by gardening near a legacy mine and smelter in an arsenic-endemic region of Arizona was characterized in this study. Residential soils were used in a greenhouse study to grow common vegetables, and local residents, after training, collected soil, water, and vegetables samples from their home gardens. Concentrations of arsenic measured in water, soil, and vegetable samples were used in conjunction with reported US intake rates to calculate the daily dose, Incremental Excess Lifetime Cancer Risk (IELCR), and Hazard Quotient for arsenic. Relative arsenic intake dose decreased in order: water>garden soils>homegrown vegetables, and on average, each accounted for 77, 16, and 7% of a residential gardener's daily arsenic intake dose. The IELCR ranges for vegetables, garden soils, and water were 10-8 to 10-4, 10-6 to 10-4, and 10-5 to 10-2, respectively. All vegetables (greenhouse and home garden) were grouped by scientific family, and the risk posed decreased as: Asteraceae>Fabaceae>Amaranthaceae>Liliaceae>Brassicaceae>Solanaceae>Cucurbitaceae. Correlations observed between concentrations of arsenic in vegetables and soils were used to estimate a maximum allowable level of arsenic in soil to limit the excess cancer risk to 10-6. The estimated values are 1.56mgkg-1, 5.39mgkg-1, 11.6mgkg-1 and 12.4mgkg-1 for the Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, and Amaranthaceae families, respectively. It is recommended that home gardeners: sample their private wells annually, test their soils prior to gardening, and, if necessary, modify their gardening behavior to reduce incidental soil ingestion. This study highlights the importance of site-specific risk assessment, and the need for species-specific planting guidelines for communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-382
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume454-455
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Exposure assessment
  • Home gardening
  • Mining waste
  • Risk characterization
  • Vegetables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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