Heavy metal contamination in agricultural soils may lead to the disorder of soil functionality, retardation in plant growth and influence human health through a contaminated food chain. The present study was undertaken to examine zinc, copper, lead and nickel content in soils and vegetables collected from different agricultural fields in Tarai region of Kumaun Himalaya. Ten surface soil (0 to 20 cm) and 20 vegetable samples in summer season were collected and analyzed for content of heavy metals. Heavy metal analyses in soil and vegetables samples were performed on an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. Mean values of three replicates were taken for each determination. Ladyfinger was found to be the best accumulator of all detected metals. The present study indicates that children ingest significant amount of metals as compared to the adult. However, the content of these metals were below the permissible limits except Zn content in ladyfinger collected from Bajpur. The regular monitoring these metals in soils, vegetables and in other food items is necessary to prevent accumulation of these metals in the food chain. There is more risk of metal accumulation in children as compared to adults.
Key words: Heavy metals, agricultural soils, vegetables, health risk, food chain.
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