Health risk assessment and heavy metal bioaccumulation in vegetables irrigated with waste water in Kano State, Nigeria
Intake of vegetables grown in heavy metals contaminated soils is one of the most common food chain routes for exposure of human. For this purpose, this research aimed at evaluating the concentration of heavy metals (cadmium-Cd, lead-Pb and zinc-Zn) in vegetables such as spinach (S), lettuce (L), and onion (O), irrigated with two different wastewater sources in Kano State Nigeria. Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometric analysis (AAS) was used in this research to determine the metal levels. Zn (0.17-0.12 mg/l) was detected in the wastewater, as well as in the irrigated soil (8.36-33.64 mg/kg), while Cd and Pb were not detected in both the wastewater and irrigated soils. Furthermore, between (1.50-27.05 mg/kg) of Zn was detected in the assayed vegetables (S, L and O). However, there was no significant difference (p<0.05) between the Zn content of the two wastewater sites. Lactuca sativa was observed to have the highest Zn concentration (27.5 mg/kg) in site A, while Spinacia oleracea had the lowest Zn concentration (1.5 mg/kg). Zn levels in all the samples analysed in this study were below the permissible limit of 100 mg/kg in vegetables, 50 mg/kg in soil and 5mg/l in wastewater set by FAO/WHO. However, Pb and Cd were not detected in all the samples. Bioaccumulation factor was found ranging from 0.32-41.17 mg/kg and the pollution index ranged from (0.46-1.80 µg g-1). This indicated potential health risk from Zn in people who are consuming these vegetables for long period of time due to biomagnification. This research suggested that frequent test should be carried out to monitor the accumulation and, farmers should be sensitized on the importance of treating irrigation water before agricultural usage.
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