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Risk Assessment of Metal Contamination in the Vegetables and Fruits Sold at Farmer’s Markets (Uzhavar Sandhai) Coimbatore, India

 Risk Assessment of Metal Contamination in the Vegetables and Fruits Sold at Farmer’s Markets (Uzhavar Sandhai) Coimbatore, India

A risk assessment on metal contamination in vegetables and fruits sold at farmer’s markets in Coimbatore, India was conducted in the present study to understand their suitability for public consumption. A total of 542 samples of vegetables (321) and fruits (221) were acid-digested and analyzed for metals such as Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd) and Chromium (Cr) using atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Among the vegetables, Palak had high levels of Zn (38.44 ± 2.08 μg/g), Pb (2.32 ± 0.24 μg/g) and Cr (2.65 ± 0.18 μg/g). Further, Spinach measured highest levels of Cu (15.40 ± 0.51 μg/g) and Cd (0.30 ± 0.02 μg/g). Among the fruits, Banana (Robusta) had the highest load of Cu (14.35 ± 1.33 μg/g) and Pb (1.69 ± 0.25 μg/g). Pine apple, Orange and Banana (Mysore) had the maximum levels of Zn (12.20 ± 0.67 μg/g), Cd (0.19 ± 0.02 μg/g) and Cr (2.53 ± 0.20 μg/g dw) respectively. Significant variation (p<0.01) in metal contamination was observed among the vegetables and fruits. Although 16% of the vegetable samples had Pb levels exceeding the safe limits, the estimated Hazard Index (HI) value was less than 1 and they are safe for public consumption..

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