Review of Edible Plants in Dumpsites: Risks of Heavy Metals Toxicity and Implications for Public Health
Studies of dumpsites have revealed that the surrounding soils and water are contaminated with high threshold of heavy metals through anthropogenic inputs. In this review, the uptake and toxicity risks of these heavy metals by habitual edible plants at levels above threshold limit and the implications for public health have been discussed. Edible plants are plants with nutritional and medicinal potentials which can salvage numerous human and animal needs when taken. Edible plants like most other underutilized plants in dumpsites have developed mechanisms which enable them to not only survive but accumulate high level of toxic heavy metals due to high level of environmental metal load in the dumpsites. This ultimately could lead to high human and animal exposure to these toxic elements through food-chain/food-web or direct ingestion of soils. The toxic effects caused by excess concentrations of these heavy metals in living organisms vary considerably and present numerous clinical situations ranging from neurological disorder, cellular damage among others and death in extreme cases. This review suggest the urgent need for policy makers to regulate the use of dumpsites for arable farming and the dependence on edible plants in dumpsites to avert heavy metal poisoning in populations.
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Nwogo Ajuka Obasi
Environmental Biochemistry, Health and Toxicology Research Unit, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Nigeria.
Department of Science Laboratory Technology, Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic Unwana, Nigeria.
Department of Geography and Meteorology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu State, Nigeria.
E-mail: [email protected]
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