Concentrations of metals in household dust samples from rural, semi-urban and urban zones of the Niger Delta in Nigeria were measured during both 2009 and 2014 with the aim of providing information on changes in the concentrations, distribution patterns, sources and risks of metals in these zones. The concentrations of metals in the dust samples were quantified by using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrophotometry (ICP-AES) after digestion with aqua regia. The measured concentrations (mg kg−1) of metals in the three zones within the study periods were as follows: <LOQ–21.2; <LOQ–182; 7.90–265; <LOQ–117; <LOQ–471; 3.37–2310; 0.35–7.9; 4.25–365; 6.78–61,600; 219–37,700; and 1180–18,000 for Cd, Pb, Ba, Cr, Ni, Cu, Co, Mn, Zn, Fe and Al, respectively. The results from the two periods indicate significant changes in the concentrations, distribution patterns and risk factors which reflects a deterioration of the quality of the household environment over this time span. The hazard index (HI) values calculated for children were greater than 1 indicating significant non-cancer risks for these subjects in these areas. The HI values for adults were less than 1 and consequently do not pose a significant risk. The carcinogenic risk levels for exposure to metals for both adults and children in these zones were below the range specified as safe by the US EPA (×10−6 and ×10−4) thereby indicating a low cancer risk. The sources of metals in household dust from these zones include emissions from industries, traffic, artisanal workshops and releases from household furniture, metal-based fittings, metal roofing and pesticides.
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Practical implication: This study examined the spatio-temporal distribution, sources and health risks of metals in household dusts from rural, semi-urban and urban environments in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. The distribution patterns suggested that household dust from the semi-urban zone contained higher concentrations of the majority of investigated metals which may be linked to the activities conducted by small-scale industries. Principal component analysis indicated the significance of outdoor contamination (traffic, industries and artisanal workshops) and indoor emission sources and verified the particular kinds of contaminants from the different zones. The human health risk evaluation indicated low risks particularly for adult exposure to metals in the household dust from these zones. The data obtained are useful for designing pollution control strategies and risk management.
Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues
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Iwegbue, C.M., Oliseyenum, E.C. & Martincigh, B.S. Spatio-temporal distribution of metals in household dust from rural, semi-urban and urban environments in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 14040–14059 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-8609-1
- Human exposure
- Household dust
- Risk assessment
- Niger delta