Monitoring environmental pollutants in the vicinity of a cement plant: a temporal study.
ABSTRACT From 2008 to 2009, we evaluated the environmental impact of a cement plant (Montcada i Reixac, Catalonia, Spain) that is located close to densely populated areas. The potential health risks for the population living in the neighborhood were also assessed. The levels of various heavy metals and the concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) were determined in soil, vegetation, and air samples collected at different directions and distances from the facility. Three 6-monthly consecutive campaigns were performed to establish temporal and seasonal trends. Multivariate statistical techniques, such as principal component analysis, were used. Human exposure to metals and PCDD/Fs, as well as the associated carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic risks, were also calculated. Environmental pollutant concentrations, especially those found in urban sites, were noted to be slightly higher than those recently reported around other cement plants in Catalonia. A seasonal pattern was observed, with higher values recorded during the colder sampling periods. Despite this, the carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic risks derived from human exposure to metals and PCDD/Fs were within the ranges considered acceptable by international regulatory organisms.