Application of Environmental Geochemistry Research to Public Health Issues in Nigeria
American Journal of Environmental Protection
Volume 3, Issue 6-2, December 2014, Pages: 30-34
Received: Sep. 29, 2014;
Accepted: Oct. 5, 2014;
Published: Dec. 25, 2014
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Ngozi-Chika Chiazor Stephen, Department of Earth Sciences (Geology), Salem University, Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria
Lar Uriah Alexander, Department of Geology, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria
Onichabo Ngozi Anthonia, Neimeth International Pharmaceutical, Abuja, Nigeria
Ozulu George Uchebike, Department of Earth Sciences (Geology), Salem University, Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria
Public health is threaten by imbalances in the distribution of chemical elements in the environment resulting from natural or/and anthropogenic activities. Of significance are toxicities resulting from anthropogenic activities such as mining, ore mineral processing, indiscriminate waste disposal, and the use of pesticides in agriculture etc. To reduce the impact of these chemical elements on the environment and their consequence human health effects, there is need for the establishment of toxicological health facility in the vicinity of the mining communities in other to minimize the problem of wrong diagnosis as often is the case. Unfortunately, modern geochemical data are rarely available for developing countries, or may be inadequate for environmental purposes, having been collected principally for mineral exploration. Geochemical surveys (ideally incorporating data for soil, stream-sediment, natural/mine dust, vegetation and water samples) are of considerable value in studies linking the environment, food and health. Geochemical maps are pointers to potential areas of chemical element deficiency or toxicity, enabling expensive veterinary or medical investigations to be better targeted. The understanding of the geochemistry of the environment is necessary for the development of sound principles, strategies, programs and approaches that will minimize public health risks. Thus, to comprehensively and extensively address the issues of public health emanating from chemical element toxicities and deficiencies, mine/natural dust associated with geologic material, mining and mineral processing, there is need for closer collaboration, synergy and partnership among the public health researchers (physicians, environmentalists, nutritionists, geochemists, botanists, biochemists, atmospheric chemists and others). On the part of public health centres, there should be enhanced and improved medical record-keeping, sources from which reliable epidemiological data about incidence, prevalence and trends in disease occurrence can be extracted. The analytical capacity of research centres should be enhanced to enable the contents of nutritional and toxic elements to be measured at the very low concentrations needed for making tangible correlations between geology and environmental health conditions.
Ngozi-Chika Chiazor Stephen,
Lar Uriah Alexander,
Onichabo Ngozi Anthonia,
Ozulu George Uchebike,
Application of Environmental Geochemistry Research to Public Health Issues in Nigeria, American Journal of Environmental Protection. Special Issue: Integrating Earth Materials, Diet, Water and Human Health.
Vol. 3, No. 6-2,
2014, pp. 30-34.
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