Dust-Metal Sources in an Urbanized Arid Zone: Implications for Health-Risk Assessments

Leticia García-Rico, Diana Meza-Figueroa, A. Jay Gandolfi, Rafael Del Río-Salas, Francisco M. Romero, Maria Mercedes Meza-Montenegro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The available information concerning metal pollution in different dust sources and the health effects in children remains limited in Mexico. This study focuses on Hermosillo, which is an urbanized area located in the Sonoran Desert in which soil resuspension and dust emission processes are common. The metal content of arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn), and lead (Pb) were determined in three dust sources (playgrounds, roofs, and roads), each representing different exposure media (EM) for these elements. The metal levels in dust were found in the order of Mn > Cr > Pb > As with the highest metal content found in road dust. Despite the similar average metal distributions, principal component analysis shows a clear separation of the three EM with playground dust related to Cr and Mn and road dust to As and Pb. However, the geoaccumulation index results indicate that dust samples are uncontaminated to moderately polluted, except for Pb in road dust, which is considerably high. In addition, the enrichment factor suggests an anthropogenic origin for all of the studied metals except for Mn. In this context, the hazard index (HI) for noncarcinogenic risk is >1 in this population and thus represents a potential health risk. The spatial distribution for each metal on EM and the HI related to the marginality index could represent a more accurate decision-making tool in risk assessment studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-533
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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