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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 91-96

Health implications of chemicals found in the drinking water supply of members of an urban community in Rivers State, South–South Nigeria

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Best Ordinioha
P. O. Box 162, Omoku, Onelga, Rivers State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0795-3038.197756

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Background: Efforts at improving access to drinking water almost always concentrate on increasing quantity, with little attention given to the quality of water. There is, however, increasing evidence of the significant contributions of chemicals found in drinking water on health. This study tested the drinking water supply of Rumuola, a suburb of Port Harcourt, for possible chemical contamination. It also ascertained the human health implications of the detected contaminants in the water samples. Methods: A cross-sectional, analytical study design was used. Water samples were collected from water facilities that serve most members of the community and analysed in an accredited laboratory, for nitrate, fluoride, calcium, arsenic, lead and iron, using atomic absorption spectrophotometer. A checklist was also used to assess a 30 m radius of each of the water facilities, for possible sources of contamination. An impact assessment was also carried out to ascertain the health implications of the contaminants identified in the water samples. Results: Samples from eight water facilities were tested. All the samples contain detectable concentrations of iron, lead, nitrate, fluoride and calcium. The mean concentration of fluoride in the water samples was 0.01 mg/L; that of nitrate was 38.78 mg/L; the mean concentration of iron was 1.05 mg/L, those of lead and calcium were 0.094 and1 mg/L, respectively; while arsenic was not detected in any of the samples. The mean concentration of iron in the water samples can provide 12%–26% of the recommended daily allowance; while the mean concentration of lead of the samples is more than nine times the WHO permissible limit. Conclusion: The concentrations of the assessed chemicals in the water supply can supply some percentage of the recommended daily intake while others can pose some adverse health effects.

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