Impact analysis of lead, copper and zinc content in selected African indigenous and exotic vegetables from Nairobi markets, Kenya
Vegetables consumed in urban sites can be contaminated with harmful metal levels absorbed from planting sources because metals are commonly present in soil. The present study was carried out to evaluate Pb, Cu and Zn concentration in ten of the commonest vegetables in Nairobi markets. Vegetables were collected from 15 markets in urban and peri-urban Nairobi and analyzed for metal content using an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS). The concentrations were in the order Zn > Cu > Pb with values of 15.6 to 120, 0 to 19 and Pb 0 to 1.37 mg/kg, respectively. There were significant differences in markets and within vegetables (p<0.05). Sources were not consistent in the levels of metals indicating that they were supplied from different planting sites. Cu and Zn were within permissible consumer limits while Pb in many vegetables exceeded the limit. Continuous control of pollution and evaluation of metal content in vegetables is recommended in monitoring environmental contamination and food safety.
Key words: African indigenous vegetables, heavy metals, pollution, urban and peri - urban markets.