D. Pipoyan, S. Stepanyan, S. Stepanyan, M. Beglaryan, N. Merendino; Biological Trace Element Research, 2019, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-019-01675-w
Mining industry is one of the priority sectors of Armenia’s economy. However, mining complexes without treatment facilities, such as those in Armenia, have adverse environmental impact. Moreover, soil contamination can pose a potential risk to human health, particularly, through the consumption of food crops. In this study, 12 soil and 32 vegetable composite samples were collected from the city of Kajaran where Armenia’s biggest copper and molybdenum mine is located. The concentrations of Cu, Mo, Cd, Hg, As, and Pb were analyzed using atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Diet study was conducted using food frequency questionnaire. Non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks to human health through vegetable consumption were assessed. The results indicated that different vegetables have different trace element uptakes. Also, the transfer factors (TFs) for each vegetable varied across elements. TFs were less than 1 for the majority of trace elements. Nevertheless, in some samples of studied vegetables, the concentrations of Hg, Cd, and Pb exceeded the maximum allowable levels. THQ of Mo exceeded 1 for all the studied vegetables, while THQ of Cu exceeded 1 for potato and bean, indicating a potential health risk posed by chronic exposure. Exceedingly high levels of Mo exposure can be related to high incidence of anemia among Armenians, since Mo interacts with Cu and is a potential cause of copper deficiency-induced anemia. With regard to cancer risk, none of the carcinogenic risk values exceeded the threshold level.
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