Current Levels of Heavy Metal Pollution in Africa
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ABSTRACT. Studies of environmental pollution in Africa indicate that toxic metal pollution has reached unprecedented levels over the past decade. Human exposure to toxic metals has become a major health risk on the continent and is the subject of increasing attention from national and international environmentalists. This paper reviews data from the past decade on environmental pollution in Africa and highlights countries where most heavy metal pollutions have been reported. Characteristics of heavy metal pollution in North, West, East and Southern regions of Africa have been described, as have major sources of pollution in the different regions. This review summarizes the sites where most of the heavy metal pollution has been reported in Africa and, where applicable, presents reported levels of pollution in different environmental compartments in the context of internationally acceptable limits. Contaminations in fish and food animals as well as impacts of heavy metal pollution on humans are also described.