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Health and ecological hazards due to natural radioactivity in soil from mining areas of Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Aliyu, Abubakar Sadiq and Ibrahim, Umar and Akpa, Chidozie Timothy and Garba, Nuraddeen Nasiru and Ramli, Ahmad Termizi (2015) Health and ecological hazards due to natural radioactivity in soil from mining areas of Nasarawa State, Nigeria. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, 51 (3). pp. 448-468. ISSN 1025-6016

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10256016.2015.1026339


Nasarawa State is located in north central Nigeria and it is known as Nigeria's home of solid minerals. It is endowed with barite, copper, zinc, tantalite and granite. Continuous releases of mining waste and tailings into the biosphere may result in a build-up of radionuclides in air, water and soil. This work therefore aims to measure the activity concentration levels of primordial radionuclides in the soil/sediment samples collected from selected mines of the mining areas of Nasarawa State. The paper also assesses the radiological and radio ecological impacts of mining activities on the residents of mining areas and their environment. The activity concentrations of primordial radionuclides (226Ra, 232Th and 40K) in the surface soils/sediment samples were determined using sodium iodide-thallium gamma spectroscopy. Seven major mines were considered with 21 samples taken from each of the mines for radiochemistry analysis. The human health hazard assessment was conducted using regulatory methodologies set by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, while the radio ecological impact assessment was conducted using the ERICA tool v. 1.2. The result shows that the activity concentrations of 40K in the water ways of the Akiri copper and the Azara barite mines are 60 and 67 % higher than the world average value for 40K, respectively. In all mines, the annual effective dose rates (mSv y-1) were less than unity, and a maximum annual gonadal dose of 0.58 mSv y-1 is received at the Akiri copper mine, which is almost twice the world average value for gonadal dose. The external hazard indices for all the mines were less than unity. Our results also show that mollusc-gastropod, insect larvae, mollusc-bivalve and zooplankton are the freshwater biotas with the highest dose rates ranging from 5 to 7 µGy h-1. These higher dose rates could be associated with zinc and copper mining at Abuni and Akiri, respectively. The most exposed terrestrial reference organisms are lichen and bryophytes. In all cases, the radio ecological risks are not likely to be discernible. This paper presents a pioneer data for ecological risk from ionizing contaminants due to mining activity in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. Its methodology could be adopted for future work on radioecology of mining

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:mining, natural radioactivity, Nigeria
Subjects:Q Science > QC Physics
ID Code:55552
Deposited By: Fazli Masari
Deposited On:19 Sep 2016 04:32
Last Modified:15 Feb 2017 04:39

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