GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 154-1
Presentation Time: 8:05 AM


NGOMA, Idah, Department of Biological Science, Georgia College and State University, 240 E.Thomas St APT 14, Milledgeville, GA 31061, MUTITI, Samuel, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, GA 31061, SERAFIN, Rachel, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, LEVY, Jonathan, Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, HAY, Cameron, Anthropology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, FILIPPELLI, Gabriel, Department of Earth Sciences, IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5132 and MWEETWA, Alice, Agriculture Sciences, University of Zambia, Lusaka, P.O Box, Zambia

Lead pollution remains one of the major global environmental problem that affects both the highly industrialized and the less industrialized countries. While urban gardening has become increasing popular, in places contaminated with lead, these gardens can be a potential risk for lead exposure through contaminated produce. This study aimed to evaluate the potential health risk due to the consumption of vegetables grown in residential gardens contaminated with lead and compare that to the exposure risk from contaminated dust. The study also establishes the relationship between lead concentrations in soils and the crops grown in them. Soil, dust, fruits and vegetable samples were collected over two seasons from Kabwe, Zambia and tested for lead using Atomic Absorption Spectrometer and X-ray Fluorescence. The most common vegetables sampled were Brassica napus, Brassica rapa and sweet potato leaves. Lead concentrations in all the sampled fruits were below detection limit, while all leafy vegetables had high amounts of lead. The vegetables did not show any statistical difference (from each other) in the amount of lead taken up (p = 0.22). All the vegetables were above the tolerable consumption limit per week (0.025 mg/kg body weight). Plant lead uptake was directly related to soil concentrations. Average indoor dust had 103 ppm of lead, which is a cause for concern. Both vegetable and dust particles provide significant exposure pathways in this area. These results imply that, in environments contaminated with lead, dust and diets that rely on home grown leafy vegetables will substantially contribute to a person’s lead burden and impact individual and community health. Thus, there exist a great need for testing lead levels in soils and develop strategies to ensure safety.

Key words; urban garden, fruits, vegetables, lead contamination, mining