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Highlights of some environmental problems of geomedical significance in Nigeria


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.

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Lar, U.A., Tejan, A.B. Highlights of some environmental problems of geomedical significance in Nigeria. Environ Geochem Health 30, 383–389 (2008).

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