Heavy metal concentrations in vegetables cultivated and sold in Machakos Municipality, Kenya

R.M. Tomno, L. Kitulu, J.K. Nzeve, F. Waswa, S.N. Mailu, D. Shitanda
2021 Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management  
Heavy metal contamination of vegetables is a key aspect of food quality assurance since vegetables form a substantial proportion of the daily human diet. Health risks in urban populations due to exposure to heavy metals are on the increase because of the consumption of vegetables irrigated with wastewater. This study analyzed the concentration of Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn and Cr in spinach and kales grown using contaminated water of the Mitheu urban stream and those sold within Machakos municipality.
more » ... able samples were collected once per month for a period of four months starting from June to September 2019. The mean heavy metal concentrations obtained were0.013 – 3.19 mg/kg, 0.468 – 1.706 mg/kg, 0.02 – 0.368 mg/kg, 5.78 – 26.7 mg/kg, and 0.104 – 14.0 mg/kg for Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn and Cr respectively in kale samples from the different sampling sites. The heavy metal mean concentrations in spinach were 0.055 – 0.575 mg/kg, 3.79 – 5.55 mg/kg, 0.098 – 1.49 mg/kg, 8.32 – 20.7 mg/kg and 0.368 – 4.43 mg/kg for Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn and Cr respectively. The mean concentrations of Cd, Pb, Zn and Cr in both spinach and kales in some of the sampling sites were above WHO permissible levels for heavy metals in vegetables for human consumption. However, the mean concentration of Cu was below WHO recommended levels. Consumption of these vegetables therefore poses a health risk to the consumers. There is need to create public awareness on the dangers of consuming contaminated vegetables. Additionally, measures to curb heavy metal pollution in Mitheu stream should be taken by the County Government of Machakos.
doi:10.4314/jasem.v24i12.3 fatcat:45yscyd4ejgdrezu7jgehhxwx4