Sources and Cancer Risk Exposure of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Soils from Industrial Areas in Southeastern, Nigeria

Document Type : Original Article


1 Environmental Toxicology Unit, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Port Harcourt, River State, Nigeria Biochemistry department, College of Natural Science, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Nigeria

2 Environmental Toxicology Unit, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Port Harcourt, River State, Nigeria

3 Biochemistry department, College of Natural Science, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Nigeria


This study investigated the cancer risk exposure of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Soils from industrial areas in South Eastern States of Nigeria. PAHs concentrations in soil samples from study sites ranged from below the limits of detection (0.01±0.00) in Ishiagu to 2.67±0.02 in Akwuuru. Total PAHs (∑PAHS) concentrations in most crop samples had values 13, 9.55, 22.12 <0.01, 5.85 Mg/kg for Abia, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu Soils respectively. The diagnostic ratios indicated both pyrolytic and petrogenic sources of pollution suggesting that there is no point source of pollution in the industrialized areas. The secondary evaluation on carcinogenic PAHs in soil for Akwuuru and Osisioma showed significant dominance above other soils analyzed for the different states. Estimated daily intake of PAHs in soils was within the interval of 2.54819E-06mg/kg/body to 8.57844E-05 mg/kg/body (Adults) and 2.67993E-06 mg/kg/body to 9.02193E-05 mg/kg/body for children. The summation of the Incremental Life Time Cancer Risk for Oral, Inhalation and Dermal routes for Soils fell at the upper limit of the tolerable range(10-6-10-4).Values were: 4.40E-04, 2.69E-05,9.07E-4, BDL and 2.37 E04 and 4.25E-04,2.60E-05,8.70E-04, BDL, 2.29E-04 for Adults and Children in Abia, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu Soils respectively. These values do not indicate carcinogenic risk due to PAHs although levels of PAHs in children were higher than in Adults suggesting that children are at greater risk compared to adults since they have a longer period of exposure.


1. Chigbo A.M., 2011. The effects of industrialization on climate change. Fulbright Alumni Association of Nigeria 10th Anniversary Conference Development, Environment and Climate Change: Challenges for Nigeria, University of Ibadan, 12 – 15 September.
2. Tarafdar A., Sinha A., 2018. Health risk assessment and source study of PAHs from roadside soil dust of a heavy mining area in India, Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, DOI: 10.1080/19338244. 2018. 1444575.
3. Wang L., Zhang S., Wang L., Zhang W., Shi X., Li X., Li X., 2018. Concentration and Risk Evaluation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Urban Soil in the Typical Semi-Arid City of Xi’an in Northwest China. Int J Environmental Res Pub Heal. 15(4), 607-622. Doi:10.3390/ijerph15040607.
4. Bortey-Sam N., Ikenaka Y., Nakayama S.M.M., Akoto O., Yohannes Y.B., Baidoo E., Mizukawa H., Ishizuka M. 2014. Occurrence, distribution, sources and toxic potential of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in surface soils from the Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana. Sci Total Environ. 496, 471–478.
5. Man Y.B., Kang, Y., Wang H.S., Lau W., Li H., Sun X.I., Giesy J.P., Chow K.L., Wong M.H., 2014. Cancer risk assessments of Hong Kong soils contaminated by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Journal of Hazardous Material. 261, 770–776. 
6. Zeng F., Cui K.Y., Xie Z.Y., Wu L.N., Luo D.L., Chen L.X., Lin Y.J., Liu M., Sun G.X., 2009 .Distribution of phthalate esters in urban soils of subtropical city, Guangzhou, China. J Hazard Mater. 164,1171–1178.
7. Xia X.H., Yang L.Y., Bu Q.W., Liu R.M., 2011. Levels, Distribution, and health risk of phthalate esters in urban soils of Beijing, China. Journal of Environmental Quality. 40, 1643–1651.
8. Wang X.T., Chen L., Wang X.K., Lei B.L., Sun Y.F., Zhou J., Wu M.H., 2015. Occurrence, sources and health risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in urban (Pudong) and suburban soils from Shanghai in China. Chemosphere. 119, 1224–1232.
9. Zhu L.Z., Lu H., Chen S.G., Amagai T., 2009. Pollution level, phase distribution and source analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in residential air in Hangzhou, China Journal of Hazardous Material. 162, 1165–1170.
10. Dong T.T.T., Lee B.K., 2009. Characteristics, toxicity, and source apportionment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in road dust of Ulsan, Korea. Chemosphere.74, 1245–1253.
11. Kong S.F., Lu B., Ji Y.K., Bai Z.P., Xu Y.H., Liu Y., Jiang H., 2012. Distribution and sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in size-differentiated re-suspended dust on building surfaces in an oilfield city, China. Atmos Environ. 55, 7–16.
12. Qi, H., Li W.L., Zhu N.Z., Ma W.L, Liu L.Y., Zhang F., Li Y.F., 2014. Concentrations and sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in indoor dust in China. Science of Total Environment.491-492, 100–107.
13. Sadiktsis I., Bergvall C., Johansson C., Westerholm R., 2012. Automobile Tires—A potential source of highly carcinogenic dibenzopyrenes to the environment. Environ Sci Technol. 46, 3326–3334.
14. Tuyen L.H., Tue N.M., Suzuki G., Misaki K., Viet P.H., Takahashi S., Tanabe S., 2014. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor mediated activities in road dust from a metropolitan area, Hanoi-Vietnam: Contribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and human risk assessment. Sci Total Environ.491-492, 246–254.
15. Paris A., Ledauphin J., Poinot P., Gaillard. J.L., 2018. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in fruits and vegetables: Origin, analysis, and occurrence. Environmental Pollution. 234, 96-106.
16. Chigere Nkem Hyginus. Foreign Missionary Background and Indigenous Evangelization in Igboland: Igboland and The Igbo People of Nigeria. Transaction Publishers, USA. 2000. p. 17. ISBN: 3-8258-4964-3. Retrieved January 04, 2019.
17. Nwaichi E.O., Wegwu M.O., Nwosu U.L., 2014. Distribution of selected carcinogenic hydrocarbon and heavy metals in an oil-polluted agriculture zone.Spring. Int Pub Switz. 186, 8697–8706.
18. API, American Petroleum Institute. Inter laboratory study of three methods for analyzing petroleum hydrocarbons in soil, diesel range organics (DRO), gasoline range organics (GRO) and petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) Publication Number 4599. 1994.
19. Tongo I., Ogbeide O., Ezemonye L., 2017. Human health risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAHs) in smoked fish species from markets in Southern Nigeria. Toxicology Report. 4, 55-61.
20. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Minimal risk levels (MRLs) for hazardous substance. Washington, DC. 1996. ATSDR.
21. Nisbet J.C.T., LaGoy P.K., 1992.Toxic equivalence factors (TEFs) for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Regulation Toxicology Pharmacology. 16, 290–300.
22. Ohiozebau E., Tendler B., Codling G., Kelly E., Giesy J. P., Jones P.D., 2016. Potential health risks posed by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in muscle tissues of fishes from the Athabasca and Slave Rivers, Canada. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, DOI 10.1007/s10653-016-9815-3.
23. Wang W., Huang M.J., Kang Y., Wang H.S., Leung A.O.W., Cheung K.C, Wong M.H., 2011. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in urban surface dust of Guangzhou, China: Status, sources and human health risk assessment. Science of Total Environment. 409, 4519–4527.
24. US. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Risk Assessment Guidance for Super Fund, Volume1, Human Health Evaluation Manual (PartB, Development of Risk-Based Preliminary Remediation Goals); OSWER, 9285.7-01B.EPA/540/R-92/003; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Washington, DC, USA, 1991.
25. Zhang Y.X., Tao S., Shen H.Z., Ma J.M., 2009. Inhalation exposure to ambient polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and lung cancer risk of Chinese population. Proc Natl Academy of Science U.S.A.106(50), 21063–7.
26. Wang C.H., Wu S.H., Zhou S.L., Shi Y.X., Song J., 2017. Characteristics and source identification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in urban soils: A Review Pedosphere. 27(1), 17–26.
27. MDNR, Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 1993. MERA Operational Memorandum #8, Revision 2. July 16.
28. Slaski J.J., Archambault D.J., Li X., 2000. Evaluation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHS) accumulation in plants. The potential use of PAHS accumulation as a marker of exposure to air emissions from oil and gas flares. ISBN: 0-7785-1228-2. Report prepared for the Air Research Users Group, Alberta Environment, Edmonton, Alberta.
29. Lu S., Xiaoyong L., Xiulan Y., Ganghui Z., Dong M., 2014. Evaluation of heavy metal and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons accumulation in plants from typical industrial sites: potential candidate in phytoremediation for co-contamination. Environ Science Pollution Research. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-014-3171-6
30. Inam E., Ibanga F., Essien J., 2016. Bioaccumulation and cancer risk of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in leafy vegetables grown in soils within automobile repair complex and environ in Uyo, Nigeria. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 188, 1-9.
31. Kipopoulou A.M., Manoli E., Samara C., 1999. Bioconcentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in vegetables grown in an industrial area. Environmental Pollution.106, 369-380.
32. Wegwu M.O., Omeodu S.I., 2010. Evaluation Of Selected Biochemical Indices In Clarius Gariepinus Exposed To Aqueous Extracts If Nigerian Crude Oil (Bonny Light). Journal of Applied Science and Environmental Management. 14(1), 77-81.
33. Nwaichi E.O., Chuku L.C., Ighoavwogan E., 2016. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and selected heavy metals in some oil polluted sites in Delta state Nigeria. Journal of Environmental Protection. 7, 1389-1410.
34. DPR . Department of Petroleum Resources. Nigeria environmental guidelines and standards for the petroleum industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN); Department of Petroleum Resources. Nigeria Draft Revised Edition: Lagos. 1991.  
35. Yunker M.B., Macdonald R.W., 2003. Alkane and PAH depositional history, sources and fluxes in sediments from the Fraser River Basin and Strait of Georgia, Canada. Org Geochem 34, 1429–1454.
36. Jiang Y.F., Hu X.F., Yves U.J., Zhan H.Y., Wu Y.Q., 2014. Status, source and health risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in street dust of an industrial city, NW China.Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 106, 11–18.
37. Moore F., Akhbarizadeh R., Keshavarzi B., Khabazi S., Lahijanzadeh A., Kermani M., 2015. Ecotoxicological risk of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in urban soil of Isfahan metropolis, Iran. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 187, 207-220.
38. Pompa G., Caloni F., Fracchiolla M.L., 2003. Dioxin and PCB contamination of fish and shellfish: Assessment of human exposure: Review of the international situation. Veterinary Research Communications. 27, 159–167.
39. Wei X., Huang Y., Wong M.H., Giesy J.P., Wong C.K.C., 2011. Assessment of risk to humans of bisphenol: A in marine and freshwater fish from Pearl River Delta. China. Chemosphere. 85(1), 122–128.
Volume 9, Issue 3
September 2019
Pages 203-216
  • Receive Date: 11 April 2019
  • Revise Date: 05 October 2019
  • Accept Date: 28 September 2019
  • First Publish Date: 30 September 2019