Health Risk Assessments Based on Existing Data of Arsenic, Chromium, Lead, and Zinc in China's Air
Health risk assessments of As, Cr, Pb, and Zn in air in China were carried out from a national perspective. Concentrations of the four metals in air were gathered from published literature. Health risk assessment models recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) were applied to quantitatively characterize risk values of the metals by considering different age groups. Results showed that the atmospheric metal concentrations in most regions of China were lower than their inhalation reference concentrations provided by the USEPA, or limited values provided by China. Non-carcinogenic hazard values of the four metals in different regions of China were all lower than 1, indicating no or low non-carcinogenic hazard. However, the probabilities of carcinogenic risk values for As and Cr exceeding the acceptable value (1.0E-05) were 9% and 10% on a national scale, respectively. Some regions, such as Shanxi, Chongqing, Liaoning, and Shanghai, should be studied in more detail. Despite uncertainties, the results of this study provide information on the health risk of As, Cr, Pb, and Zn in air in China.