Transfer of heavy metals in fruits and vegetables grown in greenhouse cultivation systems and their health risks in Northwest China is a very interesting study, which deals with a specific topic in a given geographical context, in this case Northwest China.
The study was published on the The Science of the total environment, and we can read: "Due to the high cropping index and substantial agricultural inputs in greenhouse cultivation systems (GCS) compared to traditional farming methods, the environmental problems caused by heavy metals in GCS are becoming increasingly serious.
The concentration of the heavy metals As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn in soil and food crops were analyzed and assessed in two study areas. There were greater accumulation of heavy metals in soils from Central Shaanxi (CS) than that from Northern Shaanxi (NS).
However, heavy metal concentrations in leafy vegetables were higher in NS compared to CS, particularly Cr accumulation in leafy vegetables. Overall, leafy vegetables contained higher concentrations of heavy metals than fresh fruits and fruit vegetables from both areas.
The heavy metal transfer factors (TF) for fresh fruits and fruit vegetables were as follows: Cu> Zn> Cd> Cr> As> Pb. However, in leafy veg etables, Cd had a higher TF value than the other metals tested. The target hazard quotient (THQ) values were less than 1 for fruits and vegetables, except for As in leafy vegetables from NS.
The THQ values indicated that As contamination was the most serious concern, followed by Cu> Zn> Cd> Pb> Cr in both areas. The soil threshold value (STV) based on THQ showed that the level of As in leafy vegetables grown in alkaline soil was 10.85, which was inferior to the current standards.
This study demonstrates the health risks associated with the heavy metal content of fruits and vegetables grown in GCS and suggests that necessary measures should be taken to reduce the accumulation of heavy metals in GCS crops in northwest China. "