Chemical Speciation, Bioavailability and Risk Assessments of Potentially Toxic Metals in Rainwaters as Indicators of Air Pollution

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria

2 Department of Chemistry, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

3 Management and Toxicology Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Nigeria



Heavy metals contamination of rainwater is a function of the adsorbed metals present in the particulates of the atmosphere in which the rain was formed from and rainwater chemistry is an alternative way of monitoring urban air pollution for predominant metal species. Three distinct sampling sites (residential, industrial and commercial) were investigated in the south western part of Nigeria for one year. After acid digestion, quantification was done using a double-beam Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS). The obtained results showed that heavy metals were predominantly present as free metal ion in the commercial and industrial areas but Mn and As mainly occurred in the suspended fraction. Residential area presented major fractions as bound to organic complexes except Cu and Cd which were principally available as suspended fraction. The health risks associated with the intake of the studied rainwaters indicated susceptibility to possible carcinogens upon consumption due to total RI > 10-4. Ecological risk assessment equally shown a very high level of ecological risks related with the metals due to RI ˃ 600. Sequel upon this, there is need for better sensitization of the citizenry to the sources and control of these pollutants.


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