Lead Levels in Vegetables from Artisanal Mining Sites of Dilimi River, Bukuru and Barkin Ladi North Central Nigeria: Cancer and Non-Cancer Risk Assessment

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Toxicology Unit, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

2 Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria


Lead (Pb) contamination of foods and especially of frequently consumed vegetables is a growing public health concern worldwide. Although levels of exposure in developed countries have declined over the past decades, the same cannot be said of developing countries. Health risk assessment has increasingly been employed to determine the potential hazard of heavy metal exposure to humans. In this study vegetable samples (tomatoes, red pepper, brown beans, lettuce, cabbage, Irish potatoes, onions, green beans and carrot), soil samples, irrigation water and sediment samples were collected from the Dilimi River, Bukuru and Barkin Ladi communities in north central Nigeria and analyzed for Pb content using atomic absorption spectroscopy. The results showed levels with ranges from 0.5 – 2.4 mg/kg (Dilimi River), 0.3 – 1.7 mg/kg (Barkin Ladi) and 1.46 – 1.89 mg/kg (Bukuru) in vegetables were largely above the maximum permissible limit recommended by WHO/FAO. The lead levels found in soil samples, which ranged from 9.19 – 36.042 mg/kg, also exceeded some safety standards. At least 75% of the calculated estimated daily intakes of Pb from different vegetable samples were also higher than the permissible tolerable daily intakes PTDI (0.0035 mg/kg day-1) of Pb in both adults and children. Target hazard quotient THQ values > 1 were also observed in children. In conclusion, there is a health risk from consumption of vegetables in these mining communities.