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Vincent Lal


Vincent Lal



Project title

Assessing the risk to human health and the environment from mixed contamination

Thesis title

Health risk assessment of mixed contaminants: interactions of metals on the uptake of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in human liver cells.

Project description

Almost all energy production and use generates some form of pollution which may have negative health effects on humans. In Australia and other developed countries, a large number of contaminants are still associated with former gasworks sites which were instrumental in meeting urban energy needs (i.e. heating, lighting and cooking) in the 1800s to early 1900s. Soil characterisation at such sites has found polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as major contaminants together with heavy metals. Their co-occurrence makes risk assessment for remediation work difficult because of knowledge gap in assessment of combined toxicity of mixed contaminants. The objective of this project is to study the uptake of PAHs in human liver cells in the presence of heavy metals. A combination of both analytical and biological assay will be employed in this study to investigate bioavailability, uptake and metabolism of PAHs in cells exposed to PAHs and heavy metal mixtures. The outcomes of this study will generate new knowledge on human health risk from exposure to PAH and heavy metal as mixed contaminants and may assist towards remediating polluted soil. 

Student Profile

Vincent Lal is a gradute of the University of the South Pacific (USP). He has more than six years of work experience as a chemist and project assistant at the Institute of Applied Sciences at USP. In the past six years, Mr. Lal’s work and study has been based on investigation of contaminants in environment and population in the pacific island region as well as setting up a biofuel testing laboratory. Some of the key project parters being United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)  and project partner universities in Australia, Europe and Asia


Lal, VV & Aalbersberg, WGL 2010, Project POPS: monitoring sources and concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Fiji’s abiotic environment, LAMBERT Academic Publishing, Berlin, Germany. 

Lal, VV, Aalbersberg, WGL, Fiedler, H, van Bavel, B & de Boer, J 2013, 'Capacity building for persistent organic pollutant (POP) analysis in the Pacific and POP trends in the Pacific Islands,' Trends in Analytical Chemistry, vol. 46,  pp. 173–177.

Lal, VV, Bridgen, P, Votadroka, W, Raju, R & Aalbersberg, W 2014, 'Characterization of organochlorine pesticides, brominated flame retardants and dioxin like compounds in shellfish and eel from Fiji,' Science of the Total Environment, in press, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.01.125.