HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT ON HEAVY METALS IN DRINKING AND SURFACE WATER OF COMMUNITIES IN BAUXITE MINING AREAS
Background: The mining of bauxite ore in Kuantan, Pahang has been going since early 2013. Bauxite ore contains radionuclides and heavy metals by which uncontrolled bauxite mining, can pollute waterways. These can pose great threat to environment and human health. The study objectives were to determine and compare the concentrations of selected heavy metals; aluminium (Al), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni) and lead (Pb) in water as well as to evaluate the risk of drinking such water.
Materials and Methods: This study was conducted in residential area of Felda Bukit Goh (FBG), Jalan Besar Bukit Goh (JBBG) and Kuantan Port Flat (KPF). A total of 162 respondents were interviewed using self-construct questionnaire. Seventy-nine samples of drinking water and 6 samples of water from water treatment plant were collected and analysed using the Inductively Coupled Plasma–Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS).
This cross-sectional study was conducted in Kuantan on 162 randomly selected respondents in three residential areas; FBG, JBBG and KPC. Questionnaires were used to obtain the socio-demographic background information and health symptoms.
Result: Results indicated that there were significant differences in Al, Ni and Cr concentrations between rivers near the bauxite mining activities in Kuantan. The health risk assessment for all heavy metals from drinking water indicated that there was no significant risk of non-carcinogenic adverse health effect for both adults and children. Meanwhile, the lifetime cancer risk (LCR) for carcinogenic heavy metals from drinking the water for adults and children were also within the acceptable limit.
Conclusion: The presence of heavy metals levels in drinking and river water at the beginning of the year, 2016 posed no health risk to the communities.Keywords: Bauxite mining, heavy metals, inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), health risk assessment