ASSESSMENT OF THE CONCENTRATION OF POTENTIALLY TOXIC METALS IN ASHES OF BURNT HOSPITAL WASTES

N. J. Shamle, I. J. Buyara, J. S. Gushit

Abstract


The ashes of burnt hospital wastes was collected from the disposal points of six major hospitals within and around Jos Metropolis and analyzed for the presence and concentrations of potentially toxic metals (PTMs) such as lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), Mercury (Hg), Zinc (Zn) and Arsenic (As), using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS - Analyst-400 Model 2000). The average concentration of the samples showed that Pb has a concentration of 0.066+0.004, Cd - 0.032+0.004, Hg - 0.021+0.001, Zn - 0.031+0.003 and As - 0.027+0.001mg/kg. The concentration levels of the PTMs determined were found to exceed the maximum allowable levels (MAL) of WHO and EPA. These metals find their way into the ecosystem through natural processes such as air emission of ash particles, washing of ashes into water ways, leaching of metal ions into underground water and translocation of metals into the roots, stems and fruits of plants. The implication of this is a high risk of infections like encephalopathy seizures, damage to the central nervous system and the kidney, mental retardation, autoimmunization among other diseases associated with these metals when ingested. Proper land filling of the ash and recycling of the non-combustible components of hospital wastes have been suggested.

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