Metals in residential soils and cumulative risk assessment in Yaqui and Mayo agricultural valleys, northern Mexico

Maria M. Meza-Montenegro, A. Jay Gandolfi, María Ernestina Santana-Alcántar, Walter T. Klimecki, María Guadalupe Aguilar-Apodaca, Rafael Del Río-Salas, Margarita De la O-Villanueva, Agustín Gómez-Alvarez, Héctor Mendivil-Quijada, Martín Valencia, Diana Meza-Figueroa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


This investigation examines the extent of soil metal pollution associated with the Green Revolution, relative to agricultural activities and associated risks to health in the most important agricultural region of Mexico. Metal contents in bulk soil samples are commonly used to assess contamination, and metal accumulations in soils are usually assumed to increase with decreasing particle size. This study profiled the spatial distribution of metals (Ni, Cr, Pb, Cu, Fe, Cd, V, Hg, Co, P, Se, and Mn) in bulk soil and fine-grained fractions (soil-derived dust) from 22 towns and cities. The contamination of soil was assessed through the use of a geoaccumulation index (Igeo) and pollution index (PI). The results of this study indicated that a number of towns and cities are moderately to highly polluted by soil containing Be, Co, Hg, P, S, V, Zn, Se, Cr, and Pb in both size fractions (coarse and fine). Hazard index in fine fraction (HIchildren=2.1) shows that risk assessment based on Co, Mn, V, and Ni spatially related to power plants, have the potential to pose health risks to local residents, especially children. This study shows that risk assessment based on metal content in bulk soil could be overestimated when compared to fine-grained fraction. Our results provide important information that could be valuable in establishing risk assessment associated with residential soils within agricultural areas, where children can ingest and inhale dust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-481
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


  • Dust
  • Metal
  • Risk assessment
  • Soils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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