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Comparative Assessment of Heavy Metals in Drinking Water Sources in Two Small-Scale Mining Communities in Northern Ghana

Department of Ecotourism and Environmental Management, Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, University for Development Studies, P.O. Box TL 1882, Nyankpala 233, Ghana
School of the Environment and Safety Engineering, Jiangsu University, Xuefu Rd. 301, Zhenjiang 212013, China
Biological, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, P.O. Box LG 25 Legon, Accra 233, Ghana
Department of Immunology, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, College of Health School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon 233, Ghana
Environmental Chemistry Division, CSIR-Water Research Institute, P.O. Box A38, Accra 233, Ghana
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Nil Basu, Susan Keane and Paleah Black Moher
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(9), 10620-10634;
Received: 18 May 2015 / Revised: 10 August 2015 / Accepted: 25 August 2015 / Published: 28 August 2015
PDF [1237 KB, uploaded 28 August 2015]


The study assessed levels of heavy metals in drinking water sources in two small-scale mining communities (Nangodi and Tinga) in northern Ghana. Seventy-two (72) water samples were collected from boreholes, hand dug wells, dug-out, and a stream in the two mining communities. The levels of mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), and cadmium (Cd) were determined using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS). Mean levels (mg/l) of heavy metals in water samples from Nangodi and Tinga communities were 0.038 and 0.064 (Hg), 0.031 and 0.002 (As), 0.250 and 0.031 (Pb), 0.034 and 0.002 (Zn), and 0.534 and 0.023 (Cd), respectively, for each community. Generally, levels of Hg, As, Pb, Zn, and Cd in water from Nangodi exceeded the World Health Organisation (WHO) stipulated limits of 0.010 for Hg, As, and Pb, 3.0 for Zn and 0.003 for Cd for drinking water, and levels of Hg, Pb, and Cd recorded in Tinga, exceeded the stipulated WHO limits. Ingestion of water, containing elevated levels of Hg, As, and Cd by residents in these mining communities may pose significant health risks. Continuous monitoring of the quality of drinking water sources in these two communities is recommended. View Full-Text
Keywords: arsenic; mercury; Northern Ghana; small-scale mining; water quality arsenic; mercury; Northern Ghana; small-scale mining; water quality

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Cobbina, S.J.; Duwiejuah, A.B.; Quansah, R.; Obiri, S.; Bakobie, N. Comparative Assessment of Heavy Metals in Drinking Water Sources in Two Small-Scale Mining Communities in Northern Ghana. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 10620-10634.

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