Determination of Total Arsenic and the Relationship between the Arsenic Levels and other Determined Physicochemical Properties of Some Biological and Environmental Samples from Selected Towns in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region

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Amansie West District of the Ashanti region is rich in gold deposits so surface mining is the most important economic activity in the District. The mining causes weathering of rocks and increases arsenic levels in foods, water and soils. Total arsenic concentrations of soil, water and cassava from the district were analysed (with hydride generation AAS) as well as the relationship between the arsenic levels and other physicochemical parameters of the samples. The pH, conductivity and surrounding temperature were determined with probes. TDS, TSS and TS were gravimetrically determined. The research was conducted between October 2011 and May 2012. The ranges for all the water samples were: pH 5.05 to 7.98, conductivity 29.33 to 429.07 µS/cm, TDS 22 to 275 mg/L, TSS 189 to 892 mg/L and TS from 226 to 1045 mg/L. For soil samples, the ranges were: pH from 4.18 to 6.50, conductivity from 189.38 to 598.49 µS/cm and moisture content, from 6.54 to 33.06%. The pH range for the cassava samples was 4.99 to 6.83 and the peel was 4.03 to 6.68. The conductivity for the cassava ranged from 59.12 to 78.07 µS/cm whiles the peel was 60.11 to 77.89 µS/cm. The moisture content of the cassava and peel were respectively 11.07 to 22.98% and 38.97 to 50.65%. The range of arsenic levels in the samples were: water below 1 ppb (below detection) to 14 ppb, soil 3.12 to 8.48 mg/kg, cassava 0.08 to 1.20 mg/kg and peel from 0.22 to 1.20 mg/kg. There was an irregular trend or no specific pattern (scattered diagrams) between arsenic levels, sample properties and towns. This means the factors affecting arsenic levels differ from town to town. TABLE OF COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS AAS Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy A.P.H.A. American Public Health Association ATSDR Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry AWD Amansie West District BU Buruli Ulcer DO Dissolved Oxygen EPA Environmental Protection Agency HCL Hollow Cathode Lamp HGAAS Hydride Generation Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy MoH Ministry of Health PMT Photomultiplier Tube TDS Total Dissolved Solid TSS Total Suspended Solid TS Total Solid UNICEF United Nations International Children Emergency Fund WHO World Health Organization WML World Health Organization Maximum Limit
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Chemistry,Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of degree of Master of Philosophy (Analytical Chemistry), October-2013