Electrochemical determination of the levels of cadmium, copper and lead in polluted soil and plant samples from mining areas in Zamfara State, Nigeria

  • Modupe Mabel Ogunlesi Chemistry Department, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos
  • Wesley Okiei Chemistry Department, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos
  • Aderinsola Adio-Adepoju Chemistry Department, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos
  • Michael Oluboyo Chemistry Department, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos
Keywords: Heavy metals, Mining activities, Soil, Plants, Anodic stripping voltammetry


The concentrations of lead, copper and cadmium in soil and plant samples collected from Abare and Dareta villages in Anka local government area of Zamfara State, Nigeria have been electrochemically determined. The study was carried out because of the high mortality of women and children under five, reported for these areas in June 2010. The cause was ascribed to the lead poisoning which has been related to the mining and processing of gold-containing ores. Linear sweep anodic stripping voltammetry technique was used with the glassy carbon working, Ag/AgCl reference and platinum auxiliary electrodes. Voltammetric peaks for lead, copper and cadmium that were observed at -495 mV, -19.4 mV and -675 mV, respectively, have formed a basis for construction of the corresponding calibration plots. The concentrations (in mg/kg) of lead, copper and cadmium in the soil samples were found in the ranges of 18.99−26087.70, 2.96−584.60 and 0.00−1354.25, respectively. The concentration values for lead were far above already established USEPA (2002) and WHO (1996) maximum permissible limits for residential areas. The concentrations of lead, copper and cadmium in the food samples ranged between 5.70−79.91, 11.17−41.21 and 0.00−5.74 mg/kg. Several of these values are found well above the FAO/WHO limits of 0.1, 2 and 0.1 mg/kg, respectively. The results indicate that in addition to the lead poisoning, copper and cadmium poisoning may also be responsible for sudden and high mortality in this population.


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Electrochemical Science