A comparative study of the impacts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in water and soils in Nigeria and Ghana: Towards a framework for public health protection

Victoria Koshoffa Akinpelumi, Kwakye George Kumi, Amarachi Paschaline Onyena, Kabari Sam, Anthoneth Ndidi Ezejiofor, Chiara Frazzoli, Osazuwa Clinton Ekhator, Godswill J. Udom, Orish Ebere Orisakwe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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As industrialization increases to meet global need for social and economic development, clean soil and water are increasingly becoming scarce resources due to contaminations caused by industrial activities. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous in the environment, however, they are predominant in natural resource-dependent economies where burning of fossil fuels and exploration activities drive their release into environmental media daily. This study reviewed a comparative analysis of PAH contamination in soil and water media in Ghana and Nigeria using published literature. Although evidence indicates limited PAH studies in Ghana, the abundance of PAH research in Nigeria does not translate to efficient and effective control and management measures. These measures are crucial for addressing the exposure of environmental and public health receptors to high concentrations of PAHs and mitigating their harmful effects, such as cancer and suppression of the immune system. In addition, considering that exposure to elevated PAH concentrations in water and soil has been linked to increased risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and that the presence of PAHs in water can promote the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms, which can increase the risk of communicable diseases (CDs), PAH contamination therefore exacerbates the disease burden and thus significantly slows the epidemiologic transition in both countries. Given the contextual similarities, this article articulates a conceptual framework based on global principles to enhance the prevention and remediation of PAH contamination in both countries. The framework would serve as an exemplar for regions with similar contexts and challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100336
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials Advances
Early online date8 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • Cancer
  • Communicable disease
  • Epidemiologic transition
  • Polluter pays principle
  • Precautionary principle

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