Human Health Impact of Natural and Artificial Radioactivity Levels in the Sediments and Fish of Bonny Estuary, Niger Delta, Nigeria
There is widespread contamination of the environment of the Niger Delta, which may include enhanced background levels of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) due to oil production and rapid urbanization activities. Sediments and seafood from the Bonny estuary, Niger Delta, were collected for the purpose of determining baseline data on artificial and natural radioactivity and estimation of effective doses for the public due to ingestion of seafood from the study area. The highest and
... ea. The highest and lowest activity concentrations were reported for 40 K and 137 Cs in both sediments and fish samples of the Bonny estuary. There was some evidence of spatial variability in the 40 K and 137 Cs data, with the latter being the likely result of dredging. Other radionuclides were not significantly different between sites impacted by industrial activities or not. Activity of radionuclides measured in the sediments of the study area were higher than reported elsewhere in the Niger Delta and Nigeria and higher than reported global averages by UNSCEAR. The total highest activity concentration in all fish species of gamma emitting radionuclides was observed for 40 K, followed by 238 U, 232 Th and 226 Ra, respectively, while 137 Cs had the lowest activity concentration. However, 210 Po activities were the most important in terms of dose contribution. Consumption of molluscs at typical rates could result in doses exceeding 1 mSv· y −1 . Although this baseline data may not be conclusive on prevailing trends in radioactivity in the study area, higher OPEN ACCESS Challenges 2015, 6 245 consumption rates of the species studied may have public health consequences due to effects of low dose ionising radiation.