Analysis of heavy metal concentration in some vegetables using atomic absorption spectroscopy

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 1. Department of Physics, College of Natural & Computational Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2. Department of Physics, College of Natural & Computational Sciences, Arba Minch University, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

2 Department of Physics, College of Natural & Computational Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


This study assesses heavy metal levels in water, soil, and vegetables (swiss chard, lettuce, cabbage, collard green, tomato, green pepper and carrot) irrigated with waste water in Gamo, Ethiopia. The samples of soils, water, and vegetables were randomly collected, processed, and analyzed for heavy metals using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The results obtained show that the irrigational water is profoundly contaminated with heavy metals Cd, Cr and Ni and Pb, Zn and Cu had the lowest concentration in irrigation water. The levels of Cd in Kulfo river area and Chamo Lake area and Ni in most of the farm soils were also found to be higher than the guideline values. The study also revealed that the mean levels of Cd in most vegetables and Cr and Pb in some vegetables were higher than the maximum recommended limits set by WHO/FAO. In general the results show that the highest concentration of the heavy metals was obtained from Kulfo river area compared to the Arbaminch textile share company area, Abaya Lake area, and Chamo Lake area. Cabbage was maximally contaminated with potential toxic elements followed by Swiss-chard, carrot, tomato, collard green, green pepper and lettuce. Hence, from kulfo river area frequent consumption of cabbage and Swiss chard may cause serious health risks to consumers. The levels of many elements were found to vary with location, suggesting localized inputs of the various contaminants related to industrial and other activities that generate wastewater. This study recommends regular monitoring of heavy metals in soils, waters, and foodstuffs to prevent excessive accrual in food chain.


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