1.0 Introduction

Heavy metal contamination is a significant environmental concern with adverse effects on human health. These toxic substances, including lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic, are released into the environment through various industrial and anthropogenic activities. One area where heavy metal contamination can have a profound impact is in kitchen environments, where food preparation and cooking take place. Understanding the extent of heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments is crucial, as it directly affects human exposure to these toxic substances.

Nasarawa, a state located in Nigeria, is known for its agricultural activities and diverse food culture. However, rapid industrialization and urbanization in the region may contribute to the release of heavy metals into the environment. These contaminants can find their way into kitchen environments through several pathways, including contaminated water sources, contaminated soil used for farming, and the use of metal-containing cookware and utensils.

The implications of heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments for lung and kidney health are particularly concerning. Inhalation of heavy metal particles and consumption of contaminated food and water can lead to the accumulation of these toxic substances in the body, affecting the respiratory and renal systems. Heavy metals have been linked to various health issues, including respiratory problems such as lung inflammation, impaired lung function, and increased risk of lung cancer. Additionally, they can cause kidney damage and dysfunction, leading to chronic kidney disease and other renal complications.

Given the potential risks associated with heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments, it is essential to examine the extent of this issue in Nasarawa. Conducting a comprehensive assessment of heavy metal concentrations in kitchen environments, including water sources, cooking utensils, and food items, can provide valuable insights into the potential health risks faced by the local population. This research will contribute to the development of effective strategies to mitigate heavy metal contamination and protect the lung and kidney health of individuals residing in Nasarawa.



1.1 Background to the Study

The industrial applications of several metals have revolutionized the human environment. However, they have also been proven to be hazardous to health following their ingestion, intentionally or accidentally (Zohar, 1980).


The presence of metals in food can be caused by different sources such as through direct contamination during production, with metal-rich soil, air, or contaminated water as well as from the use of pesticides or fertilizers (Fishbein, 1981; Arora et al., 2008). Food can also be contaminated during processing, transportation and storage (Wang et al., 2006).


According to International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS), (1999) there are 35 metals that are concern to humans due to occupational or residential exposure and it has been estimated that around one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of diseases attributed to those metals (WHO, 2011). Regardless of their effect, many of them play a crucial role in all life forms. For example, arsenic (As), copper (Cu), iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni) are considered essential at low concentrations but are toxic at high levels (Mertz, 1981). However, elements like aluminium (Al), beryllium (Be) and lead (Pb) have no biological significance (Trichet & Defarge, 1995).


Although metal toxicity depends on the amount ingested, chronic exposure to certain metals, such as cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb), can cause severe toxic effects, even in low amounts. Humans are exposed to metals through different exposure pathways, the most common being inhalation of contaminated air and ingestion of products such as water, medicinal herbs, and food (Nowak & Chmielnicka, 2000; Abou-Arab, 2000).

Metals tend to bioaccumlate thus their concentration increases in a biological system over time. This is because they are stored faster than being metabolized or excreted (Hare, 1992). Unlike organic molecules, metals do not require bioactivation or undergoes enzymatic modification that produces a reactive chemical species for detoxification process (Waalkes, 1995). However, metals use other mechanisms, such as long-term storage (e.g., Iron) and biliary and/or urinary excretion (Waalkes, 1995).


Generally, metals disrupt basic metabolic functions in two ways; first, when stored in the soft tissue of the body, they compete with other ions. For instance, heavy metals like Pb, Hg and Cd have affinity to sulphur and attack the thiol groups in the active site of enzymes, thus inactivating and disrupt their function (Ademoroti, 1996; Alka, 2000). Secondly, they antagonistically compete with essential ions and prevent them from fulfilling their biological functions. For instance, Pb replaces Ca in bones (Pounds, 1983).


One of the sources of food contamination by metal includes techniques and materials used in food processing (Dabonne et al., 2010). The domestic preparations of food as a potential source of metal contamination have been overlooked for long time. However, there are reports that indicate that certain kitchen utensils used for food preparation can represent a significant risk because they are manufactured with materials that can be hazardous or contaminated by toxic metals (DM et al., 1985; Hight, 2001).


The problem with the presence of metals in kitchen based equipments lies in the fact that these contaminants can be transferred to food and beverages by a leaching process, which is again influenced by physical and chemical conditions of the food, such as boiling duration and pH (zález et al., 1996; Baba et al., 2004; Dadd, 2009).


Various kinds of utensils are hand crafted and used for the preparation, storage and consumption of foods. These utensils can be source of metal contamination since some of the raw materials used in their manufacturing contain heavy metals, such as clay and enamel (Dabonne et al., 2010). The use of these utensils can release toxic metals into food substances during processing, sometimes in amounts high enough to constitute health hazard (Dadd, 2009). For instance, studies conducted by Dabonne et al., (2010) in Cote d’Ivoire shows that traditional utensils made out of clay and traditional Aluminum pots are the potential sources of metals like aluminium and iron. Another study by Omolaoye et al., (2010) in Nigeria also shows that food items and beverages prepared in ceramic products imported from China are likely to show high levels of lead.


Similarly, cottage industries in our country are producing cooking utensils from metallic Scraps. Therefore, the present study was aimed at determining the leaching of selected metals from unstandardized cookwares.


1.2 Statement of the problem

The contamination of kitchen environments with heavy metals in Nasarawa presents a significant concern for human health, particularly with implications for lung and kidney health. However, the extent of heavy metal contamination in these environments and its specific effects on human health in the region have not been thoroughly examined. Therefore, this study aims to address the following problem:

  1. What is the level of heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments in Nasarawa?
  2. What are the specific heavy metals present in these environments and what are their concentrations?
  3. How do heavy metals enter kitchen environments, and what are the potential sources of contamination?
  4. What are the implications for lung and kidney health resulting from heavy metal exposure in kitchen environments?
  5. What measures can be taken to mitigate heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments and safeguard the lung and kidney health of individuals in Nasarawa?

By investigating these aspects, this study intends to shed light on the heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments in Nasarawa and its implications for lung and kidney health.

1.3 Objectives of the study


The main objective of the study is to examine the Heavy Metal Contamination in Kitchen Environments In Nasarawa: Implications for Lung and Kidney Health

The following are the specific objectives;

  1. To evaluate the natural metallic content of the various food ingredients
  2. To determine the leaching of some selected metals (Al, Fe, Ni and Pb) from traditional cooking pot
  3. To determine the influence of pH, cooking duration and cooking frequency on metal leaching
  4. To examine the health implications of these heavy metals


1.4 Significance of the study

The significance of the study on heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments in Nasarawa with implications for lung and kidney health is as follows:

  1. Human Health Impact: Understanding the extent of heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments is crucial for assessing its potential health effects on individuals residing in Nasarawa. The study will provide valuable insights into the specific heavy metals present, their concentrations, and their potential implications for lung and kidney health. This knowledge will contribute to identifying high-risk areas and populations, enabling the development of targeted interventions to protect public health.
  2. Preventive Measures: The study findings will serve as a foundation for implementing preventive measures to mitigate heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments. This includes identifying potential sources of contamination and recommending appropriate strategies to minimize exposure. By implementing effective preventive measures, such as improving water quality, promoting safe cooking practices, and encouraging the use of non-toxic utensils and cookware, the study can contribute to reducing the risk of heavy metal-related health issues in Nasarawa.
  3. Environmental Management: The study will provide insights into the sources of heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments, which can contribute to broader environmental management efforts. By identifying the major sources, such as industrial activities or agricultural practices, policymakers and regulatory bodies can implement measures to control and reduce heavy metal emissions. This can lead to overall improvements in environmental quality and the well-being of the local population.
  4. Public Awareness: Conducting this study will raise awareness among the general public and relevant stakeholders about the potential risks associated with heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments. Disseminating the study findings through public health campaigns, educational programs, and community engagement initiatives can empower individuals to take proactive steps to protect their lung and kidney health. Increased awareness can also drive behavioral changes, such as adopting safer cooking practices and utilizing less toxic utensils, contributing to the overall reduction in heavy metal exposure.
  5. Scientific Knowledge and Future Research: The study will contribute to the existing scientific knowledge on heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments, particularly in the specific context of Nasarawa. The findings can serve as a basis for future research, allowing for more comprehensive investigations into the specific health effects, long-term exposure risks, and potential interventions. This can lead to a deeper understanding of heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments globally and the development of evidence-based strategies to address this issue effectively.


1.5 Scope of the study


In this study, we aim to investigate the heavy metal contamination in kitchen environments in Nasarawa and evaluate its implications for lung and kidney health. By analyzing the concentration of heavy metals in various kitchen-related matrices, such as drinking water, cooking utensils, and commonly consumed food items, we can assess the extent of contamination and its potential impact on human health. The findings of this research will serve as a foundation for implementing appropriate preventive measures and promoting awareness about the risks associated with heavy metal exposure in kitchen environments.

Download Full Material-N4000