Present study deals with the investigation of the magnitude of toxic elements in commonly consumed vegetables grown in the vicinity of a Fertilizer Factory and evaluate the degree of health risk burden due to dietary intake of those vegetables as well. The vegetable samples showed greatest probabilities of toxic elements (Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As and Pb) contamination depending on their species and locations. To find out the possible source of contaminants, soil samples from where the vegetable samples were collected were also analysed. In most cases concentration of all the elements (Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As and Pb) in soil samples are equal to or near the suggestive world average value. To find out the solubilisation of these contaminants, soil-plant Transfer Factor (TF) was also calculated and the value obtained are below 1 in each case with an exception of Cu for Brinjal (1.065)and Sponge Gourd (1.027). Health risk assessment was also done on the basis of various health risk indices calculation. It was found that all the vegetables are highly contaminated with the toxic elements analysed. Estimated daily intake of metal revealed that all the elements are within the reference dose (suggested by WHO. USEPA) except arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) and therefore HRI value for As and Pb was also found significantly high to pose any health hazard. Calculated non-carcinogenic (THQ) value for Cr and Ni was below 1 but for As and Pb the THQ value was high enough for public health concern. Cr, Ni, As and Pb present in different vegetable samples posed significant levels of carcinogenic risk as their values exceed the safe limit (10-6 - 10-4) suggested by USEPA.
Keywords: Toxicity, Hazard quotient, XRF spectroscopy, Health risk index, Transfer factors, Carcinogenic risk