Comparative analysis and human health risk assessment of contamination with heavy metals of Central Asian rivers

Karina Turdiyeva, Woojin Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The study focuses on heavy metals contamination, drinking water quality, and associated health risks for adults and children by consuming water from Central Asian Rivers (Syr-Darya, Nura, and Ili Rivers). Water samples were collected from three rivers within the 2014–2019 period by the RMS “Kazhydromet” and analyzed for various physicochemical parameters. The study revealed that the concentrations of Fe, Cd, Cr (VI), Hg, Mn, and As significantly exceeded local and international drinking water standards in at least one water body. The lowest total water quality index (55.1%) was observed in the Nura River (“marginal water category”). Coal, soil, non-ferrous metals, and iron ore industries were found to be the major sources of heavy metals in the regions. Deterministic risk assessment revealed serious cancer risks (>1E−5) in rivers due to As and Cr (VI) exposure by oral and dermal contact for adults and children. Stochastic risk assessment confirmed high cancer risks (>1E−4) due to Cr (VI) contamination of the Syr-Darya River. The study results indicate the serious lifetime cancer risk to the residents due to the use of river water for drinking and household activities. Therefore, the study area urgently and continuously requires heavy metal removal, effective monitoring, and good quality drinking water supply.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17112
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Carcinogenic risk
  • Heavy metals
  • Non-carcinogenic risk
  • Seasonal variations
  • Water quality index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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