Ecological and health risks of soil and grape heavy metals in long-term fertilized vineyards (Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province of Iran)

Environ Geochem Health. 2020 Jan;42(1):27-43. doi: 10.1007/s10653-019-00242-5. Epub 2019 Feb 5.


Heavy metal pollution in food-producing ecosystems resulting from long-term fertilizing and other agricultural practices is causing major concern due to its health risk potential for human and other organisms. This study was designed to investigate heavy metal concentrations (Cu, Zn, Pb, Cr and Cd) and assess their ecological risk using contamination factor (Cf), pollution load index (PLI) and ecological risk index. Health risk assessment (HRA) was also estimated by investigating non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks of soil via oral ingestion, dermal contact, inhalation, and health risk of grape consumption. To this aim, 38 fertilized vineyards of the region were investigated during harvesting seasons of 2016 and 2017. The results showed a same ranking order of the metals in the soil and grape that was Zn > Cu > Pb > Cr > Cd. The average concentrations of Zn and Pb in the grape samples were significantly higher than the national permissible limits. According to Cf and PLI indices, Cd had the most ecological risk compared to the other studied metals. The HRA results showed that adults and children are not exposed to non-carcinogenic risk from the studied heavy metals in the vineyard soils. But, it was a tolerable level of carcinogenic health risk only by Cr in some of the vineyards. The PLI had most significant correlation (p < 0.01) with the other studied indices. So, it can be considered as a rapid and applicable index to assess ecological and health risk of heavy metals in the region. To food-chain security and community health, some comprehensive managing plans are necessary to increase farmer's awareness about the standard amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Furthermore, continuous monitoring of heavy metals in soil and grape of the vineyards should be performed.

Keywords: Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari; Ecological risk assessment; Grape; Health risk assessment; Heavy metals; Source identification; Vineyard soil.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Carcinogens / analysis
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Farms
  • Fertilizers
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Metals, Heavy / toxicity
  • Risk Assessment
  • Soil / chemistry
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Soil Pollutants / toxicity
  • Vitis / chemistry*


  • Carcinogens
  • Fertilizers
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants