Environ Res. 2023 Sep 8:117085. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2023.117085. Online ahead of print.
This study was carried out to evaluate and analyze the fluctuations in groundwater for certain trace metals (Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Al, Cd, Cr, Pb, As, and Se) in Taizhou City over three years (2020-2022), evaluate the potential human health risks due to the consumption of groundwater. To quantify the spatiotemporal changes in groundwater trace metals, the heavy metal pollution index (HPI) and heavy metal evaluation index (HEI) were utilized. Furthermore, multivariate statistical methods were utilized to distinguish the sources of trace elements. Deterministic health risk assessment and Monte Carlo health risk simulation methods were employed to evaluate human health risks associated with exposure to trace metals. The results indicate that areas with higher pollution are in the south-central region, with low HPI increasing from 50% to 75% and low HEI from 68.75% to 81.25%, reflecting improved water quality. Correlation matrix analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) pinpointed anthropogenic sources as major trace metal contributors. Cr and As concentrations were associated with farming activities, Cd and Pb concentrations showed links to local industries such as e-waste recycling and shipbuilding. Furthermore, Cu levels in groundwater was influenced by the combined effects of industry, agriculture, and urban sewage discharge. Based on the hazard quotient (HQ) and hazard index (HI) calculations, the majority of groundwater samples did not exceed the reference values, indicating acceptable noncarcinogenic risks for both adults and children. However, the analysis of carcinogenic risk (CR) and uncertainty revealed an overall decreasing trend in carcinogenic risk, with Cr and Cd possessing the highest potential for causing carcinogenic risks. The sensitivities were 46.3%, 53.3%, and 70.3% for Cr, and 18.8%, 27.6%, and 9.3% for Cd.