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Non-Carcinogenic Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals and Fluoride in Some Water Wells in the Al-Baha Region, Saudi Arabia

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On a global scale, pathogenic contamination of drinking water poses the most significant health risk to humans. However, significant risks to human health may also result from exposure to nonpathogenic, toxic contaminants that are often ubiquitous in waters. The purpose of this study is to determine the levels of heavy metal and fluoride contaminants in water wells used in the Al-Baha region, Saudi Arabia, to evaluate if the levels of metals will have non-carcinogenic effects. Samples were collected from private wells in the area and were analyzed for chemical contamination using approved methods of collection and analysis. Chromium, manganese, zinc, iron, and fluoride were detected in all samples, and were selected for toxicological evaluation. Exposure through ingestion and dermal contact were the scenarios proposed in this study. Chronic daily intakes (CDIs) were estimated for both routes and then compared with health guideline values. The non-cancer risk estimations show that manganese, chromium, and zinc individually have oral Hazard Quotient (HQ) values less than a value of one. Iron and fluoride were found to have oral HQ values greater than 1 in some samples. Also, on considering the additive effect of the contaminants we found that some samples have Hazard Index (HI) values greater than 1, which indicates that there is a concern for chronic non-cancer adverse health effects in case of oral and dermal routes of exposure to water from these wells.
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Keywords: fluoride; heavy metals; non-carcinogenic effects; risk assessment; water well

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Science, Teachers' College, Al-Baha University, Saudi Arabia

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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