Assessment of Heavy Metal Inhalation Risks in Urban Environments in Poland: A Case Study
Institute of Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, 02-787 Warsaw, Poland
Fire University, Faculty of Fire Safety Engineering, 52/54 Słowackiego St., 01-629 Warsaw, Poland
Institute of Environmental Engineering, Polish Academy of Sciences, 34 Skłodowska-Curie St., 41-819 Zabrze, Poland
Faculty of Environmental Engineering, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Wybrzeże Wyspiańskiego 27, 50-370 Wrocław, Poland
Department of Agrochemistry, Soil Science, Microbiology and Plant Nutrition, Faculty of AgriSciences, Mendel University in Brno, Zemedelska 1, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic
Department of Hydrotechnical Engineering, Faculty Environmental Engineering, Kaunas Forestry and Environmental Engineering University of Applied Sciences, Liepu Str. 1, Girionys, LT-53101 Šlienava, Lithuania
Autor do korespondencji
Grzegorz Majewski   

Institute of Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, 02-787 Warsaw, Poland
J. Ecol. Eng. 2023; 24(11):330-340
In recent years, heightened air pollution characterized by elevated levels of particulate matter and potentially toxic metals has become a prominent concern, particularly in densely populated urban areas, which may pose a threat to the health of the population. The present study aims to conduct a comprehensive health risk assessment of heavy metals exposure via inhalation, with a focus on submicron particles (PM1), in two major cities of Poland - Warsaw and Zabrze. These cities were selected due to their distinct levels of urbanization and industrialization. Non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks assessment was performed for children and adults. The carcinogenic risk was evaluated for As, Cd, Cr (VI), Ni, Pb, and Co, classified as carcinogens, the non-carcinogenic risk evaluation encompassed a broader range of metals, including V, Mn, Cu, Zn, and Mg, aiming to comprehensively understand health exposure. The results highlight elevated carcinogenic risk in Zabrze, primarily linked to industrial activities and ongoing emissions. Notably, Ni, As, and Cr(VI) exceed safe limits, underscoring the need for targeted interventions. Moreover, non-carcinogenic risks reveal Zabrze's heightened respiratory health risks, compared to Warsaw. Despite Warsaw's lower non-carcinogenic risk values, both cities recorded Ni and Mg concentrations exceeding safe limits. This indicates that Zabrze faces higher health risks from heavy metal exposure due to ongoing pollution sources. In contrast, Warsaw, the capital city and a major urban centre, demonstrates better air quality but still requires continuous monitoring and pollution control measures.
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