International Journal of Research in Environmental Studies
ISSN: 2059-1977
Vol. 8(4), pp. 55-60, December 2021

Environmental pollutants in pregnancy and neonates in the population of Ogoni, Rivers State

Blessing L. Dum-awara*, Arthur N. Chuemere and MacStephen O. Adienbo

Department of Human Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, P. M. B. 5323 Choba, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Received 27 November, 2021; Received in revised form 11 December, 2021; Accepted !4 December, 2021.


Cord blood, Pregnancy, Environmental toxicity, Neonate, Serum, Water and Soil, Heavy metals.

Environmental pollutants of petroleum origin are emerging health, safety and environment issues. Randomly selected 50 pregnant women between aged 18 to 50 years each from each region volunteered to participate in the study. They were resident of petroleum impacted and non-petroleum impacted environments in Ogoni and Ogoja for at least a period of ten years respectively. Serum samples in pregnancy and umbilical cord blood were used to evaluate the content of environmental pollutants (heavy metals) using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Blood samples were collected from neonate cord during delivery at the point of separation of the umbilical cord from the placenta. Likewise, potable drinking water and soil samples from the studied populations were also subjected to heavy metal analysis. This study indicated a high level of exposure of petroleum heavy metal pollutants in the population of Ogoni pregnant women, especially for vanadium > lead > cadmium and for neonates, lead > vanadium > cadmium in relation to control; indication of variation in the differences of exposed; as well, heavy metals can be transferred from mother to child during pregnancy. Importantly, neonates being more vulnerable, especially for lead. Furthermore, the study also revealed a high level of exposure pollutants in the population of Ogoni in soil, as cadmium > lead; in shallow surface drinking well water, as lead; and in deep underground bore hole drinking water as lead > cadmium compared to the control. Our studies are suggestive that chronic exposure to petroleum environmental pollutants (heavy metals) in air, water and soil can present toxic effects which can negatively affect both mother and new born baby.

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