Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Spatio-temporal distribution of metals in household dust from rural, semi-urban and urban environments in the Niger Delta, Nigeria


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1


  1. Abdul-Wahab SA (2006) Indoor and outdoor relationships of atmospheric particulates in Oman. Indoor and Built Environment 15:247–255

  2. Adekola FA, Dosumu OO (2001) Metal determination in household dusts from Ilorin City, Nigeria. NISEB Journal 1(3):1595–6938

  3. Ajmone-Marsan F, Biasioli M (2010) Trace elements in soils of urban areas. Water Air Soil Pollut 213:121–143

  4. Al-Rajhl MA, Seaward MRD, Al-Aamer AS (1996) Metal levels in indoor and outdoor dust in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Environ Int 22:315–324

  5. Beamer P, Key ME, Ferguson AC, Canales RA, Auyeung W, Leckie JO (2008) Quantified activity pattern data from 6 to 27-month-old farmworker children for use in exposure assessment. Environ Res 108:239–246

  6. Bhattacharya P, Mukhejee AB, Jack G, Nordqvist S (2002) Metal contamination at a wood preservation site: characterization and experimental studies on remediation. Sci Total Environ 290:165–180

  7. Bocca B, Pino A, Alimonti A, Giovanni F (2014) Toxic metals in cosmetics: a status report. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 68:447–467

  8. Bodin A, Fischer T, Bergh M, Nilsson JLG, Karlberg A-T (2000) Skin irritation from air oxidized ethoxylated surfactants. Contact Dermatitis 43:82–89

  9. Chabukdhara M, Nema AK (2013) Heavy metals assessment in urban soil around industrial clusters in Ghaziabad, India: probabilistic health risk approach. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 87:57–64

  10. Chattopadhyay G, Lin KCP, Feitz AJ (2003) Household dust metal levels in the Sydney metropolitan area. Environ Res 93:301–307

  11. de Burbure C, Buchet JP, Bernard A, Leroyer A, Nisse C, Haguenoer JM et al (2003) Biomarkers of renal effects in children and adults with low environmental exposure to heavy metals. J Toxicol Environ Health 66:78–98

  12. Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). 2002. Environmental guidelines and standards for the petroleum industry in Nigeria (revised edition). Department of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Abuja Nigeria.

  13. El-Hassan T, Batarseh M, Al-Omri H, Ziadat A, El-Alali A, Al-Naser F, Berdainier BW, Jiries A (2006) The distribution of heavy metals in urban street dust of Karak City, Jordan. Soil Sediment Contam 15:357–365

  14. Fonturbel FE, Barbieri E, Herbas C, Barbieri FL, Gardon J (2011) Indoor metallic pollution related to mining activity in the Bolivian Altiplano. Environ Pollut 159:2870–2875

  15. Guney M, Zagury GJ, Dogan N, Onay TT (2010) Exposure assessment and risk characterization from trace elements following soil ingestion by children exposed to playgrounds, parks and picnic areas. J Hazard Mater 182:656–664

  16. Han Z, Bi X, Li Z, Yang W, Wang L, Yang H, Li F, Ma Z (2012) Occurrence, speciation and bioaccessibility of lead in Chinese rural household dust and the associated health risk to children. Atmos Environ 46:65–70

  17. Hassan SKM (2012) Metal concentrations and distribution in the household, stairs and entryway dust of some Egyptian homes. Atmos Environ 54:207–215

  18. Hu X, Zhang Y, Luo J, Wang T, Lian H, Ding Z (2011) Bioaccessibility and health risk of arsenic, mercury and other metals in urban street dusts from a mega-city, Nanjing. China Environ Pollution 159:1215–1221

  19. Huang M, Wang W, Chan CY, Cheung KC, Man YB, Wang X, Wong MH (2014) Contamination and risk assessment (based on bioaccessibility via ingestion and inhalation) of metal(loid)s in outdoor and indoor particles from urban centers of Guangzhou, China. Sci Total Environ 470–480:117–124

  20. Hunt A, Johnson DL, Griffith DA (2006) Mass transfer of soil indoors by track-in on footwear. Sci Total Environ 370:360–371

  21. Islam MS, Ahmed MK, Al-Mamun MH (2016) Human exposure of hazardous elements from different urban soils in Bangladesh. Adv Environ Res 5(2):79–94

  22. Iwegbue CMA (2013) Chemical fractionation and mobility of heavy metals in soils in the vicinity of asphalt plants in Delta State, Nigeria. Environ Forensic 14:248–259

  23. Iwegbue CMA (2014) Impact of land use types on the concentrations of metals in soils of urban environment in Nigeria. Environ Earth Scie 72:4567–4585

  24. Iwegbue CMA, Nwajei GE, Eguavoen OI (2012) Impact of land-use patterns on chemical properties of trace elements in soils of rural, semi-urban and urban zones of the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Soil Sediment Contam 21:19–30

  25. Iwegbue CMA, Osakwe SA, Eluekozie CI, Nwajei GE (2015a) Concentrations, human and ecological risks of metals in soils in the vicinity of asphalt plants in Delta state, Nigeria. Jordan Journal of Earth and Environmental Science 7(1):49–63

  26. Iwegbue CMA, Bassey FI, Tesi GO, Onyeloni SO, Obi G, Martincigh BS (2015b) Safety evaluation of metal exposure from commonly used moisturizing and skin-lightening creams in Nigeria. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 71:484–490

  27. Iwegbue CMA, Bassey FI, Obi G, Tesi GO, Martincigh BS (2016) Concentrations and exposure risks of some metals in facial cosmetics in Nigeria. Toxicology Reports 3:464–472

  28. Iwegbue CMA, Emakunu OS, Nwajei GE, Bassey FI, Martincigh BS (2017) Evaluation of human exposure to metals from some commonly used bathing soaps and shower gels in Nigeria. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 83:38–45

  29. Kexin LI, Tao L, Lingqing ZY (2015) Contamination and health risk assessment of heavy metals in road dust in Bayan Obo mining region in Inner Mongolia, North China. Geogr Sci 25(12):1439–1451

  30. Kim N, Fergusson J (1993) Concentrations and sources of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc in house dust in Christchurch, New Zealand. Sci Total Environ 138:1–21

  31. Kurt-Karakus PB (2012) Determination of heavy metals in indoor dust from Istanbul, Turkey: estimation of the health risk. Environ Int 50:47–55

  32. Lacatusu R (2000) Appraising levels of soil contamination and pollution with heavy metals. In: Land Information Systems: Developments for planning the sustainable use of land resources. HJ Heineke, W Eckelmann, AJ Thomasson, RJA Jones, L Montanarella and B Buckley (eds). European Soil Bureau Research Report No.4, EUR 17729 EN, (1998), 546 pp. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, pp 393–402.

  33. Latif MT, Othman MR, Kim CL, Murayadi SA, Sahaimi KNA (2009) Composition of household dust in semi-urban areas in Malaysia. Indoor and Built Environment 18(2):155–161

  34. Lin TS, Shen FM (2005) Trace metals in mosquito coil smoke. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 74:184–189

  35. Lin TS, Shen FM (2003) Trace metals in chines joss stick smoke. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 71:135–147

  36. Lisiewicz M, Heimburger R, Golimowski J (2000) Granulometry and the content of toxic and potentially toxic elements in vacuum-cleaner collected, indoor dusts of the city of Warsaw. Sci Total Environ 263:69–78

  37. Loska K, Wiechula D, Barska B, Cebula E, Chojnecka A (2003) Assessment of arsenic enrichment of cultivated soil in southern Poland. Pol J Environ Stud 12(2):187–192

  38. Madany IM, Akhter MS, Al Jowder OA (1994) The correlations between heavy metals in residential indoor dust and outdoor street dust in Bahrain. Environ Int 20:483–492

  39. Matson U (2005) Indoor and outdoor concentrations of ultrafine particles in some Scandinavian rural and urban areas. Sci Total Environ 343:169–176

  40. Mielke HW, Laidlaw MA, Gonzales CR (2011) Estimation of leaded (Pb) gasoline’s continuing material and health impacts on 90 US urbanized areas. Environ Int 37:248–257

  41. Nolting RF, Ramkema A, Everaarts JM (1999) The geochemistry of Cu, Cd, Zn, Ni and Pb in sediment cores from the continental slope of the Banc d’Arguin (Mauritania). Cont Shelf Res 19:665–691

  42. Olawoyin R, Oyewole SA, Grayson RI (2012) Potential risk effect from elevated levels of soil heavy metals on human health in the Niger Delta. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 85:120–130

  43. Ong Ayoko G, Kokot S, Morawska L (2007) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in house dust samples: source identification and apportionment. In Proceedings 14th International IUPPA World Congress, Brisbane, Australia.

  44. Pedersen EK, Bjørseth O, Syversen T, Mathiesen M (2001a) Emissions from heated indoor dust. Environ Int 27:579–587

  45. Pedersen EK, Bjørseth O, Syversen T, Mathiesen M (2001b) Physical changes of indoor dust caused by hot surface contact. Atmos Environ 35(4149–415):7

  46. Pekey H (2006) The distribution and sources of heavy metals in Izmit Bay surface sediments affected by a polluted stream. Mar Pollut Bull 52:1197–1208

  47. Radojevic M, Bashkin VN (1999) Practical environmental analysis. Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge pp 466

  48. Rashed MN (2008) Total and extractable heavy metals in indoor, outdoor and street dust from Aswan city, Egypt. Clean 36(10–11):850–857

  49. Rasmussen PE, Subramanian KS, Jessiman BJ (2001) A multi-element profile of house dust in relation to exterior dust and soils in the city of Ottawa, Canada. Sci Total Environ 267:125–140

  50. Reimann C, De Caritat P (2000) Intrinsic flaws of element enrichment factor (EFs) in environmental geochemistry. Environ Sci Technol 34:5084–5091

  51. Roberts JW, Wallace IA, Camann DE, Dickey P, Gilbert SC, Lewis RG (2009) Monitoring and reduced exposure of infants to pollution in house dust. Rev Environ Contamin Toxicol 201:1–39

  52. Rogan N, Dolenec T, Serfimovski T, Tasev G, Dolenec M (2010) Distribution and mobility of heavy metals in paddy soils of the Kocani field in Macedonia. Environ Earth Sci 61:899–907

  53. Salem M, Igbal J, Shah M (2014) Non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic assessment of selected metals around natural water reservoir, Pakistan. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 108:42–51

  54. Singh, A.K., Singh, A., Engelhardt, M. 1997. The lognormal distribution in environmental applications. Environmental Protection Agency Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-97/006.

  55. Smichowski P, Gómez D, Frazzoli C, Caroli S (2008) Traffic-related elements in airborne particulate matter. Appl Spectrosc Rev 43:23–49

  56. Spalinger SM, Von Braun MC, Petrosyan V, Von Lindern IH (2007) Northern Idaho house dust and soil lead levels compared to the Bunker Hill superfund site. Environ Monit Assess 130:57–72

  57. Sutherland RA (2000) Bed sediment associated trace element in urban stream Oahu Hawaii. Environ Geol 39:361–627

  58. Tahmasbian I, Nasrazadani A, Shoja H, Sinegani AAS (2014) The effects of human activities and different land use on trace element pollution in urban topsoil of Isfahan (Iran). Environ Earth Sci 71:1551–1560

  59. Thatcher TL, Layton DW (1995) Deposition, resuspension, and penetration of particles within a residence. Atmos Environ 29:1487–1497

  60. Tong STY, Lam KC (2000) Home sweet home? A case study of household dust contamination in Hong Kong. Sci Total Environ 256:115–123

  61. Turekian KK, Wedepohl KH (1961) Distribution of the elements in some major units of earth crust. Bull Geol Soc Am 72:175–192

  62. Turner A (2011) Oral bioacessibility of trace metals in household dust: a review. Environ Geochem Health 33:331–341

  63. Turner A, Hefzi B (2010) Levels and bioaccessibilities of metals in dust from arid environment. Water Air Soil Pollut 210:438–491

  64. Turner A, Simmonds L (2006) Elemental concentrations and metal bioaccessibility in UK household dust. Sci Total Environ 371:74–81

  65. USDOE. 2011. The Risk Assessment Information System (RAIS). US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Operation Office (ORO).

  66. USEPA, 1996. Indoor air quality. Office of Radiation and Indoor Air. Indoor Environments Division (6607 J) EPA-402-F-96-004.

  67. USEPA. 1989. Risk assessment guidance for superfund, vol. I: Human health evaluation manual. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response EPA/540/1–89/002.

  68. USEPA 1997. Exposure factors handbook. Office of Research and Development EPA/600/P-95/002Fa, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC.

  69. USEPA 2001. Risk assessment guidance for superfund: vol III—part A. Process for conducting probabilistic risk assessment. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response EPA-540-R-02-002. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC.

  70. USEPA 2002a. Calculating upper confidence limits for exposure point concentrations at hazardous waste sites. OSWER 9285.6–10. Washington, DC: Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC.

  71. USEPA (2002b) Supplemental guidance for developing soil screening levels for superfund sites. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC

  72. USEPA 2011a. Exposure factor handbook 2011 edition EPA/600/R-090/052F. National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC. Available from

  73. USEPA (2011b) Screening levels (RSL) for chemical contaminants as superfund sites. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC

  74. USEPA (2011c) Integrated risk information system (IRIS). United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC

  75. Yang YY, Liu LY, Guo LL, Lv YL, Zhang GM, Lei J, Liu WT, Xiong YY, Wen HM (2015) Seasonal concentrations, contamination levels, and health risk assessment of arsenic and heavy metals in the suspended particulate matter from an urban household environment in a metropolitan city, Beijing, China. Environ Monit Assess 187(409):15pages. doi:10.1007/s10661-015-4611-6.

  76. Ying, L., Shaogang, L., Xiaoyang, C. 2016. Assessment of heavy metal pollution and human health risk in urban soils of a coal mining city in East China. Hum Ecol Risk Assess

  77. Yocom JE, McCarthy SM (1991) Measuring indoor air quality: a practical guide. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

  78. Zheng N, Liu J, Wang Q, Liang Z (2010a) Health risk assessment of heavy metal exposure to street dust in the zinc smelting district, northeast of China. Sci Total Environ 408:726–733

  79. Zheng, N., Liu, J., Wang, Q., Liang, Z. 2010b. Heavy metals exposure of children from stairway and sidewalk dust in the smelting district, northeast of China. Atmos Environ 44: 3239–3245.

  80. Žibret G, Rokavec D (2010) Household dust and street sediment as an indicator of recent heavy metals in atmospheric emissions: a case study on a previously heavily contaminated area. Environ Earth Sci 61:443–453

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Chukwujindu M.A. Iwegbue.

Additional information

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

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

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).

Download citation


  • Metals
  • Human exposure
  • Household dust
  • Risk assessment
  • Niger delta
  • Nigeria