Metal pollution of soil, plants, feed and food in the Niger Delta, Nigeria: Health risk assessment through meat and fish consumption


This study was aimed at determining mainly the concentrations of As and other metals (Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, V and Zn) in samples of feed, soil, plants and foods (fish, chicken, goat and cow meat) grown and consumed in six areas of Niger Delta, Nigeria (Choba, Khana, Trans Amadi, Eleme, Uyo and Yenagoa). Principal Component Analysis (PCA) models were used for identifying groups of variables (i.e., elements) based on the loadings and groups of samples (i.e., plants, soil, fish, meet, feed) according to the scores that contributed most to the environmental pollution in each Nigerian area. In Choba and Khana sites, the results showed a cluster of elements like As, Pb, V and Zn, mostly associated with samples of goat and cow meat, as well as soils, and separated from another cluster of metals composed by Cu and Hg with different origin. In Trans Amadi area, a clustering of As, Cd and V was found associated to different types of meat (chicken, goat, and cow) located in the opposite side of Cu and Hg, which correlated to plants and soil. In Eleme, the strongest loadings were obtained for V and Zn associated with soil and meat (goat and cow) samples and separated from As and Cd. Finally, in Uyo and Yenagoa, dominant elements were As, Cu, Pb and Zn, with proximity to cow and goat liver samples, while Cd and V corresponded to a different pollution pattern. Lead intake trough meat and fish consumption for adults and children were much higher than the tolerable limits set by international organizations. The results of this study should allow a better understanding of the complex phenomenon of metal pollution in the feed-to-food chain and human health in Nigeria, which should help to manage a pollution reduction strategy and give priorities of research and monitoring.

Authors: Esther Amaka Okoye, Beatrice Bocca, Flavia Ruggieri, Anthonett N Ezejiofor, Ify L Nwaogazie, Jose L Domingo, Joaquim Rovira, Chiara Frazzoli, Orish E Orisakwe
; Full Source: Environmental research 2021 May 11;111273. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111273.