Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metal Pollution in the Soil of the Ger District in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 29;17(13):4668. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17134668.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate human health and potential ecological risk assessment in the ger district of Ulaanbaatar city, Mongolia. To perform these risk assessments, soil samples were collected based on reference studies that investigated heavy element distribution in soil samples near the ger area in Ulaanbaatar city. In total, 42 soil samples were collected and 26 heavy metals were identified by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) methods. The measurement results were compared with the reference data in order to validate the soil contamination level. Although there was a large difference between the measurement results of the present and reference data, the general tendency was similar. Soil contamination was assessed by pollution indexes such as geoaccumulation index and enrichment factor. Mo and As were the most enriched elements compared with the other elements. The carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic risks to children exceeded the permissible limits, and for adults, only 12 out of 42 sampling points exceeded the permissible limit of noncarcinogenic effects. According to the results of the ecological risk assessment, Zn and Pb showed from moderate to considerable contamination indexes and high toxicity values for ecological risk of a single element. The Cr and As ranged as very high ecological risk than that of the other measured heavy metals.

Keywords: ecological risk assessment; ger district; health risk assessment; heavy metals; soil pollution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • China
  • Cities
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Metals, Heavy / toxicity
  • Mongolia
  • Risk Assessment
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants