Drinking water quality and risk implications for community health: A case study of shallow water wells and boreholes in three major communities in Northern Cross-River, Southern Nigeria

<p>The quality of water sources and its potential health implications to adults and children populations of respective major communities in Northern Cross-River was assessed. Water samples (<i>n</i> = 10/water source/site) were collected from three (Okpoma, Okuku and Ugaga) communities and heavy metal concentrations (Lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu), Cobalt (Co), and Zinc (Zn)) were evaluated using Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS). Overall, Pb, Cd, Ni, and Co were higher than drinking water guidelines, while only Cr, Mn, Cu, and Zn were within the permissible limits. The estimated average daily intake (EADI) and target hazard quotient (THQ) were used to determine risk implications for adult and children consumer populations. The EADI for Pb in adults for borehole water, Pb and Cr by child consumer population for borehole and shallow well water exceeded the reference dose (RfD) by USEPA. The THQ for adult population were >1 for Pb in borehole water and >1 for Pb and Cr across all sites for the child consumer population. Overall, our findings indicate toxicity and higher hazard risk for both adult (Pb) and children (Pb and Cr) populations that source drinking water from borehole and shallow well water in these communities.</p>