Geologic and anthropogenic sources of contamination in settled dust of a historic mining port city in northern Chile: health risk implications
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Tapia, Joseline S.
Cómo citarGeologic and anthropogenic sources of contamination in settled dust of a historic mining port city in northern Chile: health risk implications
Chile is the leading producer of copper worldwide and its richest mineral deposits are found in the Antofagasta Region of northern Chile. Mining activities have significantly increased income and employment in the region; however, there has been little assessment of the resulting environmental impacts to residents. The port of Antofagasta, located 1,430 km north of Santiago, the capital of Chile, functioned as mineral stockpile until 1998 and has served as a copper concentrate stockpile since 2014. Samples were collected in 2014 and 2016 that show elevated concentrations of As, Cu, Pb, and Zn in street dust and in residents' blood (Pb) and urine (As) samples. To interpret and analyze the spatial variability and likely sources of contamination, existent data of basement rocks and soil geochemistry in the city as well as public-domain airborne dust were studied. Additionally, a bioaccessibility assay of airborne dust was conducted and the chemical daily intake and hazard index were calculated to provide a preliminary health risk assessment in the vicinity of the port. The main conclusions indicate that the concentrations of Ba, Co, Cr, Mn, Ni, and V recorded from Antofagasta dust likely originate from intrusive, volcanic, metamorphic rocks, dikes, or soil within the city. However, the elevated concentrations of As, Cd, Cu, Mo, Pb, and Zn do not originate from these geologic outcrops, and are thus considered anthropogenic contaminants. The average concentrations of As, Cu, and Zn are possibly the highest in recorded street dust worldwide at 239, 10,821, and 11,869 mg kg(-1), respectively. Furthermore, the contaminants As, Pb, and Cu exhibit the highest bioaccessibilities and preliminary health risk indices show that As and Cu contribute to elevated health risks in exposed children and adults chronically exposed to dust in Antofagasta, whereas Pb is considered harmful at any concentration. Therefore, an increased environmental awareness and greater protective measures are necessary in Antofagasta and possibly other similar mining port cities in developing countries.
CONICYT "Programa de Insercion en la Academia" PAI-79150070 Nucleo Milenio INVASAL - Chile's government program, Iniciativa Cientifica Milenio from Ministerio de Economia, Fomento y Turismo
Artículo de publicación ISI
Quote ItemPeerj Volumen: 6 Número de artículo: e4699
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