TRACE ELEMENT GEOCHEMISTRY OF A REUSED ILLICIT MINE AREA FOR AN AGRICULTURAL PURPOSE IN NADOWLI DISTRICT OF NW GHANA

International Journal of Innovative Medicine and Health Science, Vol. 4, 2015, 33-40

Emmanuel Arhin, Zango M. S. and Ohene Boansi

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ABSTRACT

Trace elements in soils depending on the pathways, mode of exposure and concentrations can be essential or non-essential to human-life developments. However there are some that are potentially toxic. Mobilization of the trace elements can be influenced by environmental conditions. Whilst others cause depletion others contributes to metal-ion enrichments that generally depends on surface processes and the prevailing human activities in the area. The 18 trace elements analysed from the 154 soil samples collected and studied; 2 chalcophile elements As and Cd listed among the potentially toxic elements  (PTEs) were identified to be extremely and moderated polluted. Enrichment factors (EF) of 42.3 and 1.45 were computed for these 2 PTEs. On the contrary the essential elements Cu, Ni and Zn required for human metabolism rather showed depletions of 10.5, 24.0 and 21.0 respectively. Copper, Ni and Zn had computed geoaccumulation indeces (Igeo) of 0.17, 0.14 and 0.14 representing no-pollution. The quantities of these essential trace elements may not be enough for human and animal metabolisms and the non-essential PTEs may be detrimental to human health. Average concentrations of trace elements, essential and non-essential elements alike have not been published for the District. Besides the relationships between trace elements and health had not been thoroughly investigated so there is the need for geoscientists to intensify research on trace elements in the environment and together with professionals in public health so as to identify health issues arising from trace elements in the environment..

Keywords: Trace elements; Health; Essential elements; Potentially toxic elements; Nadowli; Ghana.