Levels of heavy metals in urine samples of school children from selected industrial and non-industrial areas in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Objectives: The levels of lead, zinc, iron, copper and cadmium metals in the urine samples of selected school children in industrial and non-industrial areas in Dar es Salaam were investigated.
Methods: Urine samples were collected from 120 children in industrial areas and 120 children in non-industrial areas then digested in concentrated acids and analysed using atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS).
Results: The concentrations of the heavy metals in the urine samples ranged from below detection limit/non-detectable (ND) to 1.92 mg/L for lead, ND to 2.55 mg/L for zinc, ND to 8.98 mg/L for iron and ND to 0.05 mg/L for copper. Cadmium was not detected. Significant differences were found between the concentrations of heavy metals in urine of pupils from the industrial areas and those from non-industrial areas. The mean concentrations of lead and copper in samples from industrial areas were significantly higher than those found in non-industrial areas (p < 0.002), while the mean concentrations of zinc and iron found in samples from non-industrial areas were significantly higher than those found in industrial areas (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion: The contamination levels were generally high in samples from both areas indicating exposure from various sources. The findings indicate public health risks.
Keywords: Heavy metals, children urine, industrial areas, non-industrial areas, Tanzania.