Skip to main content

Highlights of some environmental problems of geomedical significance in Nigeria

Abstract

This paper attempts to discuss the links between the geochemical composition of rocks and minerals and the geographical distribution of diseases in human beings in Nigeria. We know that the natural composition of elements in our environment (in the bedrock, soils, water, and vegetation) may be the major cause of enrichment or depletion in these elements and may become a direct risk to human health. Similarly, anthropogenic activities such as mining and mineral processes, industrial waste disposal, agriculture, etc., could distort the natural geochemical equilibrium of the environment. Thus, the enrichment or depletion of geochemical elements in the environment are controlled either by natural and/or anthropogenic processes. The increased ingestion of toxic trace elements such as As, Cd, Hg, Pb, and F, whether directly or indirectly, adversely affects human health. Of these, Cd has most dangerous long-term effect on human health. Environmental exposure to As and Hg is a causal factor in human carcinogenesis and numerous cancer health disorders. Available information on iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) in Nigeria indicates goiter prevalence rates of between 15% and 59% in several affected areas. There have been reported cases of dental fluorosis resulting from intake of water with fluoride content >1.5 ppm. Dental caries among children shows an overall prevalence rate of 39.9%. Within the Younger Granite province in central Nigeria, cases of cancer and miscarriages in pregnant women have been linked to natural radiation These examples and a number of others from the existing literature underscore the pressing need for the development of collaborative research to increase our understanding of the relationship between the geographical distribution of human and animal diseases in Nigeria and environmental factors. We submit that such knowledge is essential for the control and management of these diseases.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Abraham, P. W. (2000). Geophagy by human societies. Health and the Geochemical Environment. Paper presented at the International Workshop on Medical geology, Uppsala Meeting September 4–6.

  2. Adekoya, J. A. (2003). Environmental implications of mineral exploitation. In A. A. Elueze (Ed.), Prospects for investment in mineral resources of southwestern Nigera (pp. 117–122). Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS).

  3. Adiuku-Brown, M. E. (2001). The effects of mining and associated by-products: A study of trace elements in Jos Plateau and Zurak mine dumps, North Central Nigeria. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Jos.

  4. Adiuku-Brown, M. E., & Ogezi, A. E. (1991). Heavy metal pollution from mining practices: A case study of Zurak. Journal of Mining and Geology, 27(2), 205–211.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Aghim, A. E. (1999). Environmental health and safety aspects of Nigeria’s energy production and use. Archives of Ibadan Medicine, 1(2), 37.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Alakija, W. (1983). Dental caries in primary school children in Nigeria. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, 6(29), 317–319.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bano, A. I., Isichei, W. P., Das, S. U., Morimoto, L., & Nagataki, S. (1987). Common trace elements in potable water in Plateau State of Nigeria and their impact on goiter prevalence in the state. In Proceedings of Nigeria–Japan joint conference on trace metal, giotre, diarrhea, medical entomology, and epidemiology. Japan International Cooperative Agency.

  8. Breward, N., & Williams, M. (1994). Arsenic and mercury pollution in gold mining. Mining Environmental Management, 236–243.

  9. Bryce Smith, D. (1979). Lead pollution, a growing hazard to public health. Chemistry in Britain, 7(2), 54–56.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Chacket, K. F. (1981). Radionuclide Technology. An introduction to quantitative nuclear Medicine. International Student Edition, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co Ltd.

  11. Davies, T.C. (2003). Some environmental problems of geomedical relevance in East and Southern Africa. In: Geology and health (pp. 139–144). Elsevier: Oxford University Press.

  12. Epechi, O. L. (1991). Iodine deficiency disorders in Africa. In B. S. Hetzel, J. T. Dunn, & J. B. Standbury (Eds.), The prevention and control of iodine disorders (pp. 219–236). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Fairbridge, R. W. (1972). The encyclopedia of geochemistry and environmental sciences (Vol. IVA, pp. 696–702). Stroudsburg, Penn: Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross Inc.

  14. Federal Ministry of Health and UNICEF (1991). Towards the Prevention, Control and Eradication of IDD in Plateau State and neighbouring North Eastern state of Bauchi, Gongola, Kano, Borno in the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Past Present and Planned Future Activities. In: Proceedings of the National workshop on IDD in Nigeria.

  15. Ford, S. O. (1981). The economic mineral resources of the Benue Trough. Earth Evolution Sciences, 2, l54–163.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Fordyce, F. (2000). Geochemistry and health. Why geoscience information is necessary. Geoscience and Development, 6, 6–8.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Forstner, U., & Whiteman, G. T. W. (1983). Metal pollution in the aquatic environment (10th ed.). Berlin: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Isichei, U. P. (1991). Towards the prevention, control and eradication of IDD in Plateau state and neighbouring North Eastern state of Bauchi, Gongola, Kano, Borno in the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Past Present and Planned Future Activities. In Proceedings of the National workshop on IDD in Nigeria. Federal Ministry of Health/UNICEF.

  19. Jooste, P. L., Weight, M. J., & Krick, J. A. (1997). lodine deficiency and endemic goiter in the Langkloof area of South Africa. South African Medical Journal, 87, 374–379.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Jwanbot, D. J., & Ike, E. E. (1999). Measurement of permissible radiation level in mineral processing plants in Jos and environs. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 3(1), 125–130.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Lar, U. A., & Sallau, A. K. (2005). Trace element geochemistry of the Keana brine field, Middle Benue trough Nigeria. International Journal of Environment and Health, 4, 236–243.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Marker, A., Friedrich, A. C., & Melfi, A. (1991). Control of the distribution of Mn, Co, Zn, ti, and REEs during the evolution of lateritic covers above ultramafic complexes. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 40, 361–383.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Mashalla, Y. J. S., Htogwisangu, J. H., & Mtinangi, B. L. (1998). Pulmonary function tests in asbestos factory workers in Der es Salaam. MEDICOM. The African Journal of Hospital Medicine, 13, 1–14.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Obaje, N., Lar, U. A., Nzegbuna, A., Moumouni, M., Chaanda, M. S., & Goki, N. (2006). Geology and mineral resources of Nasarawa state: An investors’ guide. A monograpgh/Special publication of the Department of Geology and Mining, Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences, Nasarawa University, Keffi in collaboration with the Nasarawa state Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Nasara Scientifique, 2(1), 1–34.

  25. Ojule, A. C., Abbiyesuku, F. M., & Osotimelin, B. O. (1988). Endermic goiter prevalence in Ifedapo Local Government Oyo state, Nigeria. African Journal of Medicine and Medical Science, 27, 182.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Okoronkwo, M. O., & Tiwari, I.C. (1987). The prevalence of Endemic goitre among preadolescent and Adolescent children in Bassa Local Government area of Plateau state, Northern Nigeria. In Proceedings of Nigeria–Japan joint conference on trace metal, goitre, diarrhea, medical entomology and epidemiology.

  27. Olade, M. A. (1976). On the genesis of lead–zinc deposits in Nigeria’s Benue rift (aula cogen): A reinterpretation. Journal of Mining and Geology, 13, 20–27.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Smith, B. (2000). Exposure to soil. Geoscience and Development, 6, 12.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Solomon, O. A. (2003). A study of the natural radiation level and distribution of dose rates within the Younger Granites province of Nigeria. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Jos, Nigeria.

  30. Ubom, G. A., & Nodac, C. (1987). Goitre and water factor relationship. In Proceedings of Nigeria/Japan joint conference on trace metal, goiter, diarrhea, medical entomology and epidemology (pp. 68–69). Japan International Corporation Agency.

  31. Wami, E. N., Alabo, E. H., & Okereke, E. T. (1994). Geochemistry of waters associated with Nigeria crude oil. Journal of Mining and Geology, 31(1), 17–24.

    Google Scholar 

  32. World Health Organisation (1996). Guidelines for drinking water quality, 2, health criteria and other supporting information. Published by International Programme on Chemical Safety, WHO, Geneva.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to U. A. Lar.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lar, U.A., Tejan, A.B. Highlights of some environmental problems of geomedical significance in Nigeria. Environ Geochem Health 30, 383–389 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-008-9161-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Dental fluorosis
  • Environment
  • Geomedicine
  • Iodine deficiency disorder (IDD)
  • Nigeria