Assessment of environmental and carcinogenic health hazards from heavy metal contamination in sediments of wetlands

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Scientific Reports


Sediment contamination jeopardizes wetlands by harming aquatic organisms, disrupting food webs, and reducing biodiversity. Carcinogenic substances like heavy metals bioaccumulate in sediments and expose consumers to a greater risk of cancer. This study reports Pb, Cr, Cu, and Zn levels in sediments from eight wetlands in India. The Pb (51.25 ± 4.46 µg/g) and Cr (266 ± 6.95 µg/g) concentrations were highest in Hirakud, Cu (34.27 ± 2.2 µg/g) in Bhadrak, and Zn (55.45 ± 2.93 µg/g) in Koraput. The mean Pb, Cr, and Cu values in sediments exceeded the toxicity reference value. The contamination factor for Cr was the highest of the four metals studied at Hirakud (CF = 7.60) and Talcher (CF = 6.97). Furthermore, high and moderate positive correlations were observed between Cu and Zn (r = 0.77) and Pb and Cr (r = 0.36), respectively, across all sites. Cancer patients were found to be more concentrated in areas with higher concentrations of Pb and Cr, which are more carcinogenic. The link between heavy metals in wetland sediments and human cancer could be used to make policies that limit people's exposure to heavy metals and protect their health.

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