Spatial contamination and health risks of heavy metal(loid)s in surface soils from a petrochemical complex in the north-eastern region of Algeria


  • Boudia Hayat
  • Vassalo Laurent
  • Hadjel Mohammed
  • Prudent P.
  • Boudenne Jean Luc


  • Heavy metal
  • Spatial distribution
  • Pollution assessment
  • Health impact
  • Urban soil

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The spatial distribution patterns, origins and environmental and health risks of metal trace elements (As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn) have been analyzed through the spiking and the analysis of 84 soils sampled in the region of Arzew (Algeria). This city gathers one of the biggest petroleum harbors of Algeria and gathers in the same platform several industries, coexisting with residential and agricultural areas. The mean concentration of all the metals studied exceed their corresponding backgrounds levels and/or exceed the ecological Predicted No effect Concentration (PNEC) values. The geo-accumulation and the potential ecological risk indices indicate a low to moderate risk for As, Co, Cu, Ni and Zn, and a moderate to considerable risk for Cr and Pb. According to the health risk assessment results, the carcinogenic risks due to Cr exceed the acceptable level in all the functional areas, and when considering combined effects of metals, the hazard index obtained show a high potential carcinogenic risk to the local children.

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