The geochemistry of geophagic material consumed in Onangama Village, Northern Namibia: a potential health hazard for pregnant women in the area

Selma N. Kambunga, Carla Candeias, Israel Hasheela, Hassina Mouri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ingestion of geophagic materials might affect human health and induce diseases by different ways. The purpose of this study is to determine the geochemical composition of geophagic material consumed especially by pregnant women in Onangama Village, Northern Namibia and to assess its possible health effects. X-ray fluorescence and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry were used in order to determine the major, and trace elements as well as anions concentrations of the consumed material. The geochemical analysis revealed high concentrations of aluminium (Al), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), potassium (K), sodium (Na), and silica (Si); and trace elements including arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni) and vanadium (V) as well as sulphate (SO4 2−), nitrate (NO3 ), and nitrite (NO2 ) anions comparing to the recommended daily allowance for pregnant women. The pH for some of the studied samples is alkaline, which might increase the gastrointestinal tract pH (pH < 2) and cause a decrease in the bioavailability of elements. The calculated health risk index (HRI > 1) revealed that Al and Mn might be a potential risk for human consumption. Based on the results obtained from the geochemical analysis, the consumption of the studied material might present a potential health risk to pregnant women including concomitant detrimental maternal and foetal effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1987-2009
Number of pages23
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Volume41
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Geochemistry
  • Geophagy
  • Pregnant women
  • Termite mound soils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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