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Quality and health risk assessment of shallow groundwater aquifers within the Atankwidi basin of Ghana

Anim-Gyampo, M., Anornu, G.K., Appiah-Adjei, E.K., Agodzo, S.K.
Groundwater for sustainable development 2019 v.9 pp. 100217
World Health Organization, adsorption, adults, agrochemicals, aquifers, arsenic, basins, bicarbonates, cabbage, carcinogenicity, children, corn, crops, drinking, fluorides, groundwater, health effects assessments, heavy metals, human health, humans, irrigation, lead, millets, neoplasms, permeability, risk, salinity, salt tolerance, sodium, sustainable development, tomatoes, water hardness, zinc, Ghana
This study has appraised groundwater suitability for drinking and irrigation, and its potential health risk to humans within the Atankwidi basin of Ghana. Twenty-six boreholes were sampled and their physicochemical and heavy metal constituents determined to evaluate the groundwater potability from water quality index computations. Chlorinity, salinity, permeability indices, sodium adsorption ratio, residual bicarbonate and magnesium hardness were also computed to assess the suitability of the groundwater for irrigation. More so, the hazard quotient, hazard index and cancer risk of analyzed heavy metals were estimated to assess their potential carcinogenic risk to human health. The results showed that four and nine samples had concentrations of As, Zn and Pb exceeding respective WHO recommended limits of 0.001 mg/L, 0.006 mg/L and 0.01 mg/L. Fluoride levels in four samples exceeded the maximum WHO limit of 1.5 mg/L whilst two samples were below the minimum limit of 0.5 mg/L. Water quality indices revealed that about 80% of groundwaters were potable. Compared to adults, children were more than twice vulnerable to potential carcinogenic effects over a life-time through dermal and ingestion exposures. The groundwater was generally found to be suitable for irrigation, especially for moderate salt-tolerant crops such as maize, millet, sorghum, pepper, tomatoes, cabbage, etc. To minimize potential exposure to carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health risks, there should be awareness creation to stop the use of agro-chemicals for farming be avoided.