Estimation of Heavy Metals and Fluoride Ion in Vegetables Grown Nearby the Stretch of River Yamuna, Delhi (NCR), India

IJEP 43(1): 64-73 : Vol. 43 Issue. 1 (January 2023)

Sadre Alam1, Laxmi Kant Bhardwaj2*, Rwitabrata Mallick1 and Swapnil Rai1

1. Amity University, Department of Environmental Science, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh – 474 005, India
2. Amity University, Amity Institute of Environmental Toxicology, Safety and Management (AIETSM), Noida, Uttar Pradesh – 201303, India


Heavy metals are very hazardous to humans and the environment. They are non-biodegradable and can enter humans through contaminated water and food. After entering, they are deposited in fat tissues, bones and can cause multi-organ failure. The aim of this study was to investigate the concentration of Pb, Cu, Cd, Hg, Cr, As and F- in the vegetables which were grown near the stretch of Yamuna river, Delhi (NCR). A total of 32 vegetable samples were collected from Mayur Vihar, near Kalindi Kunj and near thermal power plant in three different seasons (2017-2019). In the monsoon season, the highest concentration of Pb, Cu, Cd and Cr were found to be 18.05 ppm in spinach, 32.60 ppm in ladyfinger, 2.59 ppm in radish, 6.60 ppm in ladyfinger. In the summer seasons, Pb, Cu, Cd and Cr were found to be 1.58 ppm in spinach and radish, 2.65 ppm in radish, 0.32 ppm in radish, 0.25 ppm in methi. In the winter seasons, Pb, Cu and Cr were found to be 17.08 ppm in radish, 2.84 ppm in beet, 4.39 ppm in spinach. The highest concentration of fluoride ion (F-) was found to be 4.35 ppm in radish. Hg and As were found below detection limit (BDL) in all different vegetable samples in all seasons. This study concludes that all three sites were found to be contaminated with heavy metals.


Heavy metals, Fluoride, Vegetables, Pollution, Yamuna river


  1. Bhardwaj, L.K. and A. Sharma. 2021. Estimation of physico-chemical, trace metals, microbiological and phthalate in PET bottled water. Chem. Africa. 4:981-991.
  2. Abida, B., S. Harikrishna and K. Irfanulla. 2009. Analysis of heavy metals in water, sediments and fish samples of Madivala lakes of Bangalore, Karnataka. Int. J. ChemTech Res., 1(2):245-249.
  3. Ferre-Huguet, N., et al. 2008. Risk assessment of metals from consuming vegetables, fruits and rice grown on soils irrigated with waters of the Ebro river in Catalonia, Spain. Biol. Trace Element Res., 123(1):66-79.
  4. Marti-Cid, R., et al. 2008. Dietary intake of arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead by the population of Catalonia, Spain. Biol. Trace Element Res., 125(2): 120-132.
  5. Martorell, I., et al. 2011. Human exposure to arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead from foods in Catalonia, Spain : Temporal trend. Biol. Trace Element Res., 142(3):308-322.
  6. Lokhande, R.S., P.U. Singare and D.S. Pimple. 2011. Toxicity study of heavy metals pollutants in wastewater effluent samples collected from Taloja industrial estate of Mumbai, India. Resour. Env., 1(1):13-19.
  7. Ayoob, S. and A.K. Gupta. 2006. Fluoride in drinking water : A review on the status and stress effects. Critical Reviews Env. Sci. Tech., 36(6):433-487.
  8. Sanayei, Y., N. Ismail and S.M. Talebi. 2009. Determination of heavy metals in Zayandeh Rood river, Isfahan, Iran. World Appl. Sci. J., 6(9):1209-1214.
  9. Simeonov, L.I., M.V. Kochubovski and B.G. Simeonova. 2010. Environmental heavy metal pollution and effects on child mental development : Risk assessment and prevention strategies. Springer.
  10. Kumar, P., et al. 2009. Ascorbic acid, garlic extract and taurine alleviate cadmium induced
    oxidative stress in freshwater catfish (Clarias batrachus). Sci. Total Env., 407(18):5024-5030.
  11. Vimercati, L., et al. 2017. Environmental exposure to arsenic and chromium in an industrial area. Env. Sci. Poll. Res., 24(12):11528-11535.
  12. Cloyd, R.A., S.A. Koren and J.F. Abisambra. 2018. Manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging : Overview and central nervous system applications with a focus on neurodegeneration. Frontiers Aging Neurosci., 10:403.
  13. Khan, S.A., et al. 2015. Metals uptake by wastewater irrigated vegetables and their daily dietary intake in Peshawar, Pakistan. Ecol. Chem. Eng., 22(1):125.
  14. Shah, A.I. 2017. Heavy metal impact on aquatic life and human health-An overview. 37th Annual Conference of the International association for impact assessment. Proceedings, pp 4-7.
  15. Delgado, C., C. Narrod and M. Tiongco. 2003. Implications of the scaling-up of livestock production in a group of fast-growing developing countries. In Livestock and livelhhoods : Challenges and opportunities for Asia in the emerging market environment. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy. pp 95-131
  16. Sharma, R.K., M. Agrawal and F.M. Marshall. 2008. Heavy metal (Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb) contamination of vegetables in urban India : A case study in Varanasi. Env. Poll., 154(2):254-263.
  17. Der Voet, E., J.B. Gueine and H.A.U. de Haes. 2000. Heavy metals : A problem solved? Methods and models to evaluate policy strategies for heavy metals. Envrironment and Policy, Netherlands.
  18. Sharma, R.K., M. Agrawal and F.M. Marshall. 2009. Heavy metals in vegetables collected from production and market sites of a tropical urban area in India. Food Chem. Toxicol., 47(3):583-591.
  19. Tasrina, R.C., et al. 2015. Heavy metals contamination in vegetables and its growing soil. J. Env. Anal. Chem., 2(142):2.
  20. Bahemuka, T.E. and E.B. Mubofu. 1999. Heavy metals in edible green vegetables grown along the sites of the Sinza and Msimbazi rivers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Food Chem., 66(1):63-66.
  21. Mapanda, F., et al. 2005. Impacts of sewage irrigation on heavy metals distribution and contamination in Beijing, China. Env. Int., 31:805-812.
  22. Ikeda, M., et al. 2000. Urban population exposure to land and cadmium in east and south-east Asia. Sci. Total Env., 249(1-3):373-384.
  23. NAAS. 2004. Peri-urban vegetables cultivation in the NCR Delhi. National Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
  24. Babu, C.R., et al. 2003. Valuation of ecological functions and benefits : Case study of wetland ecosystems along the Yamuna river corridors of Delhi region. Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai.
  25. Sengupta, B. 2006. Water quality status of Yamuna river (1999-2005). Assessment and development of river basin series : ADSORBS/41/2006-07. Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi.
  26. Syafrudin, M., et al. 2021. Pesticides in drinking water-A review. Int. J. Env. Res. Public Health. 18(2):468.
  27. Orisakwe, O.E., et al. 2012. Evaluation of potential dietary toxicity of heavy metals of vegetables. J. Env. Anal. Toxicol., 2(3):136-139.
  28. Sinha, S., et al. 2005. Accumulation of metals in vegetables and crops grown in the area irrigated with river water. Bulletin Env. Contam. Toxicol., 74(1):210-218.
  29. Sundaray, S.K., et al. 2012. Dynamics and quantification of dissolved heavy metals in the Mahanadi river estuarine system, India. Env. Monit. Assess., 184(2):1157-1179.
  30. Kaur, S. and P. Mehra. 2012. Assessment of heavy metals in summer and winter seasons in river Yamuna segment flowing through Delhi, India. J. Env. Ecol., 3(1):149-165.
  31. Boxall, A.B.A., et al. 2000. Inputs, monitoring and fate modelling of antifouling biocides in UK estuaries. Marine Poll. Bulletin. 40(11):898-905.
  32. USEPA. 1999. Alternative disinfectants and oxidants guidance manual (vol 99, no. 14). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water Programmes Operations.
  33. Parween, M., A.L. Ramanathan and N.J. Raju. 2021. Assessment of toxicity and potential health risk from persistent pesticides and heavy metals along the Delhi stretch of river Yamuna. Env. Res., 202:111780.
  34. Khilare, P.S. and S. Sarkar. 2012. Airborne inhalable metals in residential areas of Delhi, India : Distribution, source apportionment and health risks. Atmos. Poll. Res., 3(1):46-54.
  35. Bagchi, D., et al. 2002. Cytotoxicity and oxidative mechanisms of different forms of chromium. Toxicol., 180(1):5-22.
  36. Apostoli, P. 2002. Elements in environmental and occupational medicine. J. Chromatography B. 778(1-2):63-97.
  37. UNICEF. 1999. States of the art report on the extent of fluoride in drinking water and the resulting endemicity in India. Report by Fluorosis and Rural Development Foundation for UNICEF, New Delhi.
  38. Bhattacharya, A., et al. 2015. Assessment of Yamuna and associated drains used for irrigation in rural and peri-urban settings of Delhi NCR. Env. Monit. Assess., 187(1):1-13.
  39. Asim, M. and K.N. Rao. 2021. Assessment of heavy metal pollution in Yamuna river, Delhi-NCR, using heavy metal pollution index and GIS. Env. Monit. Assess., 193(2):1-16.
  40. Sharma, P. and M.D. Joshi. 2021. Determination of heavy metals by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy in vegetables grown near Yamuna river in Delhi. In plant cell biotechnology and molecular biology. pp 76-81.
  41. Khillare, P.S., D.S. Jyanthi and S. Sarkar. 2012. Health risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals via dietary intake of vegetables grown in the vicinity of thermal power plants. Food Chem. Toxicol., 50(5):1642-1652.
  42. Purty, R.S., A.N. Ha and S. Chatterjee. 2020. Presence of heavy metal in water (Yamuna river), soil and vegetables in Delhi and to examine the effect of phyto-accumulation capacity of Eichhornia crassipes. In Plant cell biotechnology and molecular biology. pp 22-36.
  43. Taghipour, H. and M. Mosaferi. 2013. Heavy metals in the vegetables collected from production sites. Health Promotion Perspect., 3(2):185.
  44. Zhong, T., et al. 2018. Concentration of heavy metals in vegetables and potential health risk assessment in China. Env. Geochem. Health. 40(1): 313-322.
  45. Ali, S., S. Shekhar and T. Chandrasekhar. 2022. Non-carcinogenic health risk assessment of fluoride in groundwater of the river Yamuna flood plain, Delhi, India. In computers in earth and environmental sciences. Elsevier. pp 455-456.
  46. Gupta, S. and S. Banerjee. 2011. Fluoride accumulation in crops and vegetables and dietary intake in a fluoride-endemic area of West Bengal. Fluoride. 44(3):153.
  47. Khandare, A.L. and G.S. Rao. 2006. Uptake of fluoride, aluminium and molybdenum by some vegetables from irrigation water. J. Human Ecol., 19(4):283-288.
  48. Lokeshwari, H. and G.T. Chandrappa. 2006. Impact of heavy metal contamination of Bellandur lake on soil and cultivated vegetation. Current Sci., 622-627.
  49. McGrath, S.P., et al. 1994. Land application of sewage sludge : Scientific perspectives of heavy metal loading limits in Europe and the United States. Env. Reviews. 2 (1):108-118.
  50. Ingwersen, J. and T. Streck. 2005. A regional sclae study on the crop uptake of cadmium from sandy soils : Measurement and modelling. J. Env. Quality. 34(3):1026-1035.
  51. Cobb, G.P., et al. 2000. Accumulation of heavy metals by vegetables grown in mine wastes. Env. Toxicol. Chem. Int. J., 19(3):600-607.
  52. Zheng, N., et al. 2007. Papulation health risk due to dietary intake of heavy metals in the industrial area of Huludao city, China. Sci. Total Env., 387(1-3):96-104.
  53. Sharma, R.K., M. Agrawal and F. Marshall. 2007. Heavy metal contamination of soil and vegetables in suburban areas of Varanasi, India. Ecotoxicol. Env. Safety. 66(2):258-266.
  54. Yang, J., et al. 2010. Genotypic variations in the accumulation of Cd exhibited by different vegetables. J. Env. Sci., 22(8):1246-1252.
  55. Luo, C., et al. 2011. Heavy metal contamination in soils and vegetables near an e-waste processing site, South China. J. Hazard. Mater., 186(1):481-490.
  56. Chen, Y., et al. 2013. Accumulation and health risk of heavy metals in vegetables from harmless and organic vegetables production systems of China. Ecotoxicol. Env. Safety. 98:224-230.
  57. Niu, Z., et al. 2013. The linear accumulation of atmospheric mercury by vegetable and grass leaves: Potential biomonitors for atmospheric mercury pollution. Env. Sci. Poll. Res., 20(9):6337-6343.