Concentration of heavy metals (Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Cd, Pb and Hg) in two vegetables (cabbage and potatoes) were determined and the potential health risks due to the consumption of the vegetables were estimated. Mean concentrations of Zn (134.0+5.62 mg/kg), As (0.12+0.01 mg/kg) and Cd (0.32+0.01 mg/kg) in cabbage from Biological Lagoon area and Zn (103.0+8.34 mg/kg), As (0.14+0.01 mg/kg) and Cd (0.31+0.01 mg/kg) in cabbage from Boicha stream area were above the safety limits of FAO/WHO. Likewise, mean concentrations of As (0.24+0.03 mg/kg) in potatoes from Biological Lagoon area and As (0.35+0.07 mg/kg) and Pb(0.50+0.04 mg/kg) from Boicha stream area were also above safety limits. Assessment of Target Hazard Quotients (THQ) indicated no human health concern from consumption of both cabbage and potatoes grown in the areas. However, effects of all the metals put together may affect human health as revealed by the high Hazard Index (HI>1). Assessment of Target Cancer Risk (TCR) revealed human health concern from consumption of these vegetables for As and Cd. Overall, vegetables consumption from Industrial Zone is more risky than consuming vegetables from the Reference site indicating that effluents from industries are potential sources of the heavy metals.
Keywords: Health risk, heavy metals, vegetable consumption.