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Public health implications of heavy metal contamination of plants growing in the lead- zinc mining area of Ishiagu, Nigeria

Chidi Enyinnaya Ogbonna, Fred Chibuisi Otuu, Ositadinma Chinyere Ugbogu, Victor OluohaNwaugo, Eziuche Amadike Ugbogu

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.7(5), 8-18, November 2015

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Abstract

The study assessed heavy metal content of plants growing in a lead-zinc mining pit in Ishiagu, Nigeria. Random sampling, involving a lucky dip without replacement was used to select twelve plants from thirty four identified in the mining pit, using a sampling ratio of 1 in 3. Metal content of plants followed the sequence; Zn > Co >Pb> Cr >Cd. Heavy metal content of plants was higher at the study area (138.85mg/kg) than at the control (16.92mg/kg). Heavy metals were accumulated mostly in plant roots. There was no significant difference (p-value <0.05) in heavy metal content of the various plants. However, heavy metal content varied significantly with respect to site (p-value =< 0.05). The high levels of these toxic metals at the study area pose a serious threat to human and animal health. Most of the plants studied have medicinal and food values; there is a high risk of heavy metals entering the food chain thereby posing health risks. It is important that inhabitants of the mining should be educated on the health risks associated with continuous consumption of plants exposed to heavy metals.

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Public health implications of heavy metal contamination of plants growing in the lead- zinc mining area of Ishiagu, Nigeria

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