Spatial-Temporal Characteristics, Source-Specific Variation and Uncertainty Analysis of Health Risks Associated with Heavy Metals in Road Dust in Beijing, China

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Based on the concentrations of ten heavy metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn, Fe) in 144 road dust samples collected from 36 sites across 4 seasons from 2016 to 2017 in Beijing, this study systematically analyzed the levels and main sources of health risks in terms of their temporal and spatial variations. A combination of receptor models (positive matrix factorization and multilinear engine-2), human health risk assessment models, and Monte Carlo simulations were used to apportion the seasonal variation of the health risks associated with these heavy metals. While non-carcinogenic risks were generally acceptable, Cr and Ni induced cautionary carcinogenic risks (CR) to children (confidence levels was approximately 80% and 95%, respectively). Additionally, fuel combustion posed cautionary CR to children in all seasons, while the level of CR from other sources varied, depending on the seasons. Heavy metal concentrations were the most influential variables for uncertainties, followed by ingestion rate and skin adherence factor. The values and spatial patterns of health risks were influenced by the spatial pattern of risks from each source.