Cancer vulnerability assessment: A geospatial bio-accessibility approach using polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soils of Lagos, Nigeria.

Oluwasegun Tamuno-Owanemi Adetunde


Background: Cancer is on the increase globally. Cancer could be associated with hazards from anthropogenic activities. An assessment was made for site-specific potential health risks from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soils across Lagos metropolis.

Aim: The study attempted to determine the vulnerability of different anthropogenic activities to cancer in the study area.

Methods: The Fed Organic Estimation Human Simulation Test method was used to determine bio-accessibility for 16 priority PAHs. This was then spatially modeled using geographic information system.

Results: The total and bio-accessible concentrations of PAHs ranged between 689 - 253,922 ng/g and 91.5 - 760 ng/g respectively. For persons involved with activities at these sites, their mean daily intake of PAHs in these soils showed no observable health risk. Estimated theoretical cancer risk ranged 6.5 x 10-07 to 5.5 x 10-10 for the study area, based on their bio-accessible concentration. Exposures to PAHs in surface soils were below the health guidelines for normal (1 x 10-06) exposures. The spatial vulnerability index for cancer developed show some variation within the study area from 0.2 – 0.0002 all falling below the normal exposure risk level of 1.0.  

Conclusion: The vulnerability to cancer based on different anthropogenic activities assessed fell below acceptable risk levels. However, it is important to reduce human exposure to even low concentrations of bio-accessible PAHs due to their tendency to bio-accumulate in plants, humans and other organisms. 


FOREShT, Bio-accessibility, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Estimated Theoretical Cancer Risk (ER), geographic information system (GIS), spatial vulnerability index.


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