Occurrence of metals in vegetables and fruits from areas near landfill in Southern Italy and implications for human exposure

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Background: This paper describes the activities and the results obtained from a monitoring of contamination levels of some metals: lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), total arsenic (Astot), vanadium (V), chromium (Cr), antimony (Sb), manganese (Mn) and aluminium (Al) in vegetable food cultivated or sold in local market, near Resit landfill in Giugliano (Campania region, Italy). This area, once well known like Campania felix for abundance and quality of food farming, supplies local, national and community markets. Unfortunately, in the last twenty years, this region has been involved in lots of illegal dumpings of hazardous and urban wastes, that have been periodically set to fire with possible health impact. For this reason it has been renamed as “Terra dei Fuochi” (“Land of Fires”). The aim of this study was the evaluation of the consumers exposure level to metals coming from the intake of likely contaminated vegetables and fruits. Results: Vegetable and fruit samples was collected in November 2013 on fields and in February 2014 in local markets. One hundred and thirty-nine samples (peppers, eggplants, lettuces, strawberries and turnip greens) were analysed for metals: fifty-six samples from fields near Resit dump and eighty-three from local markets situated in neighboring provinces and in the southern Lazio. Metal concentrations in the investigated samples were determined by inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) or inductively coupled plasma – atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) techniques applying validated and accredited analytical methods. Conclusions: In all analysed matrices, the level of each investigated metal, highlighted a very low health risk for consumers. The metal contamination levels measured in this study do not show significant differences compared to relative background values.




Melai, V., Giovannini, A., Chiumiento, F., Bellocci, M., & Migliorati, G. (2018). Occurrence of metals in vegetables and fruits from areas near landfill in Southern Italy and implications for human exposure. International Journal of Food Contamination, 5(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40550-018-0070-5

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