Human Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metal and Pathogen Contamination in Surface Waters of the Punnakayal Estuary, South India


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Chemosphere. March 14, 2022: 134027. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.134027. Online ahead of print.


Changes in the content of the hazardous heavy metal in water during the COVID-19 outbreak lockdown could help formulate management designs to mitigate public health issues associated with the Thamirabarani River system in southern India. This research assessed the water quality of the Punnakayal Estuary, one of the important resources for drinking water, industry and agriculture, by measuring physico-chemical variables (pH, EC , TDS, DO, BOD, turbidity and NO3), microbiological parameters (total coliform bacteria, faecal coliform bacteria, faecal streptococci and Escherichia coli) and toxic metals (As, Cr, Fe, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb) during the confinement and pre-confinement periods. The level of toxic metal pollution, assessed using HMPI and HTML, suggested a decrease in contaminant levels of 20% compared to the pre-lockdown period. The health risk assessment model (HQ, HI and TCR) determined the carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks in children and adults by ingestion and dermal adsorption. Both As and Cr exceeded the acceptable limit (>1) of HI, but the potential risk for children and adults was lower than in the pre-lockdown period. The results of the findings suggest that the Thamirabarani River system has remained hostile to human health even during the lockdown period, and it requires regular monitoring through a volunteer water quality committee with participations private and governmental.

PMID:35301998 | DOI:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.134027


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