Spatial distribution, accumulation and human health risk assessment of heavy metals in soil and groundwater of the Tano Basin, Ghana

Israel Doyi, David Essumang, Gustav Gbeddy, Samuel Dampare, Elliot Kumassah, David Saka

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    58 Citations (Scopus)


    Soil serves as a vast matrix for heavy metal accumulation and subsequent redistribution to critical aspects of the environment such as groundwater. Soil pollution study is essential for sustainable human health and ecosystem protection. This study provides vital insight into the fate, accumulation, interactions, and health risk posed by heavy metals in soil and groundwater by employing geochemical accumulation index (Igeo), risk assessment models and multivariate data analysis techniques such as principal component analysis (PCA), preference ranking organisation method for enrichment evaluation (PROMETHEE) and geometrical analysis for interactive aid (GAIA). The median Igeo estimates show moderate to strong Pb accumulation levels whilst all the other metals indicate uncontaminated to moderate levels. The PCA output point to anthropogenic origin of Pb and Cdin the Tano Basin and surrounding communities. PROMETHEE-GAIA results indicate that Pb, Cd, Zn and Fe accumulated in the soil matrix may potentially leach into the groundwater resources. The carcinogenic lifetime risks posed by Pb, Cd, and Ni metals to adults are within the tolerable acceptable risk and thus do not present an immediate danger in the study area. Due to the significant toxicity, bioaccumulation and biomagnification properties of Pb and Cd in the environment, areas associated with significant anthropogenic activities require regular monitoring and evaluation in order to ensure that these metals are consistently below the regulatory limits. This study has further elucidated the subject of heavy metal pollution and is therefore expected to enhance sustainable protection of the environment and human health.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)540-546
    Number of pages7
    JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2018


    • Heavy metal
    • Geochemical accumulation
    • Multivariate analysis
    • Risk assessment
    • Anthropogenic origin


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