Characterising and communicating the potential hazard posed by potentially toxic elements in indoor dusts from schools across Lagos, Nigeria

Abimbola Famuyiwa*, Jane Entwistle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


Ambient and indoor air pollution results in an estimated 7 million premature deaths globally each year, representing a major contemporary public health challenge, but one poorly quantified from a toxicological and source perspective. Indoor exposure represents possibly the greatest potential overall exposure, yet our indoor environments are still poorly understood, modelled and characterized. In rapidly growing cities, such as Lagos, Nigeria, environmental monitoring can play an important role in establishing baseline data, monitoring urban pollution trends and in environmental education. Classroom dust samples were collected from 40 locations from across the twenty local government areas (LGAs) of Lagos, in June 2019. The aim of the study was to assess the potential hazard posed by PTE in indoor dusts and to develop a suitable risk communication strategy to inform and educate the public, promoting environmental health literacy. Concentrations of total PTE in indoor dusts were assessed using Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (ED-XRF) spectrometry. Oral bioaccessibility determinations using the unified BARGE method, and analysis by Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) were also performed on the dust samples to determine the fraction available for absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Results showed that the indoor dust samples were largely uncontaminated, with only few exceptions (2 samples). Enrichment factor pollution trend for the total PTE concentrations was in the order of Pb > Zn > U > Cr > Cu > Ba > Mn > V > As > Cd > Ni > Al. Source apportionment studies using factor analysis suggests concentrations of Al, As, Fe, Mn, Ni, and U may be influenced largely by lithogenic factors, while Cd, Cu and Pb originated principally from anthropogenic sources. Chromium, V and Zn appear to originate from mixed sources of both lithogenic and anthropogenic origin. Our oral bioaccessibility determinations indicate that the assumption of 100% bioavailability based on pseudototal or total concentrations would overestimate the hazard potential of PTE in these indoor dusts. Zinc was the most bioaccessible PTE (mean of 88%), with Mn (57%), Pb (48%), Ba (48%), Al (41%), As (37%), Cu (36%), Ni (28%), Cr (10%) and Fe (7%) the least bioaccessible. Human health risk assessment, for both children and adults using the bioaccessible fraction, showed values to be within acceptable risk levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-879
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Sciences: Processes and Impacts
Issue number6
Early online date22 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterising and communicating the potential hazard posed by potentially toxic elements in indoor dusts from schools across Lagos, Nigeria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this