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Accumulation of mercury and cadmium in rice from paddy soil near a mercury mine

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Paddy soil and rice (Oryza sativa L.) in the Wanshan mining area in Guizhou province have been contaminated by toxic trace metals such as cadmium (Cd) and mercury (Hg). This study examined correlations between the types and physico‐chemical parameters of the soil and the contents of trace metals and the different forms of Hg in rice. The study also carried out an assessment of the health risks in consuming contaminated rice from the Wanshan mining area. Sequential extraction procedures were used to investigate the chemical behaviour of Hg in the soil. The results showed that Hg and Cd were the most abundant trace metals in the Wanshan mining area. The toxic methylmercury (MeHg) content was substantial in brown rice and the total amounts of total Hg (THg), DTPA‐Hg and water‐soluble Hg varied in the rhizosphere and non‐rhizosphere soils. The study also showed an antagonistic interaction between Mn in brown rice, straw, husk and MeHg in brown rice. An analysis of calculated dietary intake, target hazard quotients and hazard indexes showed a potential risk of transferring Hg, MeHg and Cd to the human body when consuming rice from the Wanshan mining area. Therefore, it must be concluded that consuming contaminated rice near the Wanshan mining area is a potential threat to human health. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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