Levels of Some Essential and Toxic Elements in Soils, Foods and Diets on the Jos Plateau, Nigeria
Joshua O. Ojo
Department of Physics and Solar Energy, Bowen University, Iwo, Nigeria.
Permanent Address: Physics Department, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted on October 23, 2006.
The tin-mining region of Jos Plateau in Nigeria is also one of the major food baskets for the whole country, especially of some fruits and vegetables which require the peculiar temperate climate of the plateau to thrive. However, the prevalence of large-scale reclamation of abandoned mines land for agricultural use in this region could introduce toxic heavy metals into the food chain. In this work, using both Flame-Atomic Absorption Spectrometry and X-ray Fluorescence techniques, the levels of the toxic elements Cd, Cr and Pb together with the essential elements Zn and Cu were determined in 43 food and diet samples from the Jos Plateau. Levels of some heavy metals in soil samples from the region were also determined and compared with samples from gold mines around Ile-Ife and Ilesa in South West Nigeria. While considerable pollution of some soils was recorded, the transfer of the pollutants into most foods and diets have been minimal. The only exception is Maize which seems capable of accumulating Cd beyond levels tolerable for humans, especially following prolonged drying.