Volume 2, Issue 3, June 2013, Page: 66-72
Trace Elements and Health: An Environmental Risk in Nigeria
Lar, Uriah Alexander, Department of Geology and Mining University of Jos, Jos-NIGERIA
Received: May 4, 2013;       Published: Jun. 10, 2013
DOI: 10.11648/j.earth.20130203.11      View  3713      Downloads  385
Abstract
The concentration levels of trace elements in drinking water and food pose potential health risks to man and therefore require great attention. Studies on iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) indicate goiter prevalence in areas underlain by metamorphic Basement and Younger Granite rocks and its near absence in the sedimentary terrains. There are cases of dental fluorosis resulting from the excessive ingestion of fluoride in both children and adults living in both the crystalline and sedimentary terrains in Nigeria with none reported from the coastal areas. Mining/mineral processing predisposes these trace elements to weathering whereby they are released into the environment in the soil and water bodies. The incidence of abnormally high natural radiation (radon gas) associated with most rocks and the exceptionally higher natural radiation associated with cassiterite mill tailings of the Jos Plateau, north central Nigeria, is a source of worry. Epidemiological records have indicated the increasing rate of lung cancer prevalence on the Jos Plateau and studies carried out elsewhere in Europe have linked about 13% of deaths associated with lung cancer to exposure to natural radiation. Preliminary hydro-geochemical study indicates high concentrations of potentially harmful elements (PHE) (Pb, Cu, Zn, As, Cd, Hg, V, Co, Cr, Ni, etc.) in the soils and water bodies in the crystalline and inland sedimentary terrains especially close to sulfide mineralization. In addition, high levels of these elements from anthropogenic sources have also been reported in soils and water in most mining/mineral processing sites and urban centres. The knowledge of the relationships between trace elements and human health issues is at its infancy in Nigeria. To adequately understand these relationships, there is need for geoscientists to intensify research on trace elements in the environment and together with professionals in community health so as to identify health issues arising from trace elements in the environment.
Keywords
Trace Element, Environment; Health, Risks, Nigeria, Anthropogenic Sources
To cite this article
Lar, Uriah Alexander, Trace Elements and Health: An Environmental Risk in Nigeria, Earth Sciences. Vol. 2, No. 3, 2013, pp. 66-72. doi: 10.11648/j.earth.20130203.11
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