The exposure of children from the Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana to Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg) were estimated in packaged drinking water. The purpose of the study was to estimate the exposure and risk associated with the ingestion of packaged drinking water due to long term exposures. The water samples were obtained from Adum, Bantama, Kejetia and Sofoline markets. Digestion was carried out using the Nitric-Sulphuric acid method. The digestates were then analysed using AAS, to quantify the heavy metals. Monte Carlo Simulation of hazard data was performed using dataset of heavy metals. Regulatory recommended values were used for contact rate of ingestion of water and body weight of children. Non-carcinogenic risk was evaluated for Cd and Hg. Additionally, carcinogenic risk of As and Pb were also evaluated. The results revealed that oral exposure to the Cd and Hg does not pose a health hazard threat to children who consume packaged drinking water. In dealing with Pb, the results revealed that the oral exposure to Pb in 50% of the packaged water does not pose a health risk; however, 5% of the packaged water samples pose a health risk to children who consume drinking water. Finally, the results for As revealed that oral exposure to As in 95% of the packaged drinking water poses a health risk to children who consume packaged drinking water. Therefore, this suggests that packaged water consumed in the study area may pose a significant health risk to children in relation to the presence of Pb and As.

1.1 Background
Water, essential to sustain life, is a natural resource without which man cannot live. A safe supply must be made available to all (WHO, 2017). However, unsafe water exists which contains all sorts of contaminants, such as toxic chemicals which cause unique health effects. Children, who are part of the sensitive group of the population, have the right to access drinking water that is safe (WHO/UNICEF, 2012), since the amount of water they consume in relation to their body weight is high (USEPA, 2002). Studies have reported that they are more susceptible to the effects of toxic metals because full development of most of their organs involved in the removal of toxins has not taken place (Obiri et al., 2010; Cobbina et al., 2013). Therefore, provision of safe drinking water would ensure better health with positive longer term consequences for their lives (WHO, 2017).

Inclusive of the World Health Organization (WHO) list of chemicals of that have drawn much concern in the public domain are toxic heavy metals which include Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd) Lead (Pb) and Mercury (WHO, 2017). It is reported that these heavy metals are known to bio-accumulate in the body thus there has been massive public outcry the world over due to their presence in drinking water (Alves et al., 2014; Zhang et al., 2012). Zhang et al. (2014) indicated ingestion of these metals have recorded a lot of cases of adverse health effects even though they enter the body through different ways. For example, WHO (2017) reported that in Bangladesh residents were discovered drinking water which was contaminated with As at alarming levels hence this exposure affected the skin by lesions appearing on it. Indeed heavy metals are of concern since they may cause cancer when the exposure takes place after a long time (WHO, 2017). In view of this, safe drinking water must be free from concentrations of chemical substances that may be highly toxic and can negatively affect health (WHO, 2017).

Heavy metals may enter water systems through two main ways which are geologic or anthropogenic activities (Khan et al., 2013). In Ghana, contamination of natural water body sources with high concentrations of heavy metals have been reported (Asante et al., 2007; Obiri, 2007). Further studies on water sampled from Tinga and Nangodi (two rural communities in the Northern region), Tarkwa and the Obuasi municipality estimated the adverse health effects brought about by continual usage of such contaminated water sources on both adults and children (Cobbina et al.,2013; Bortey-Sam and Nakayama, 2015; Obiri et al., 2010). It was recommended that provision of safer drinking water alternatives would be of immense benefit. Therefore, it is reported that in an attempt by most Ghanaians in urban areas to ensure they have access to an alternative of drinking water which they perceive to be quality and safe, packaged water is highly sought after (Dada, 2011).

1.2 Problem Statement and Justification
In urban areas in Ghana there continues to be an increase of packaged drinking water production. Due to this, most studies on packaged water have focused on assessing its microbiological and physicochemical properties (Ackah et al., 2012; Fisher et al., 2015). Also studies have determined whether the packaged water has certain trace elements such as manganese and calcium in the right quantities (Oyelude and Ahenkorah, 2012). However, not enough studies have been carried out on determining the exposures of toxic metals that may be present in the packaged drinking water and the risks they come along with. According to USEPA (2008) since the organs of children responsible for removing toxins are at the developmental stages and the amount of water they consume in relation to their body weight is high (USEPA, 2002) their risk value will be higher than adults Therefore, there is the need to assess whether the toxicity of the metals that may be in packaged drinking water are enough to pose risks to children by appropriately monitoring of the exposure and risks of such heavy metals in drinking water.

1.3 Objective
This study sought to determine the exposure and risks of children to As, Cd, Pb and Hg in packaged drinking water within the Kumasi metropolis.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 48 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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