Natural radioactivity and heavy metal distribution in reservoirs in Ghana

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Chemistry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Kumasi, Ghana

2 Radiation Protection Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Accra, Ghana

10.7508/pj.2017.02. 006


The present paper has determined the radioactivity concentrations, which are due to natural occurrence of radionuclides along with heavy metal concentration in water, sediment, and fish from 2 reservoirs in Ghana. Heavy metal concentrations in all samples were generally within the WHO safe limits with the average activity concentrations of 238U, 232Th, and 40K in water being respectively 0.42±0.20, 0.33±0.31, and 1.59±1.07 Bq/L in case of Lake Bosomtwe and 0.26±0.14, 0.67±0.34 and 1.47±0.62 Bq/L for Bui Dam in Ghana. The average annual effective dose due to ingestion of radionuclides in water ranged from 20.5 to 156 for Lake Bosomtwe and 26.5 to 162 μSv/year for Bui dam and the absorbed dose rate and annual effective dose, measured for Lake Bosomtwe, was 15.45±2.00 nGy/year and 18.95±2.95 mS/year respectively while in case of Bui dam it accounted to 10.44±4.11 nGy/year and 12.88±5.01 mS/year respectively, found to be within the UNSCEAR recommended limits of 59 nGy/year and 100 mS/year respectively. The observed metal concentrations, within safety limits, imply that metal-associated diseases cannot be expected among patrons of these reservoirs. Therefore, radionuclides and heavy metals levels in the reservoirs are not expected to cause any significant health problem for humans.


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