Detoxification of lead and arsenic from galamsey polluted water using nano synthesized iron oxide from cupola furnace slag

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Materials Chemistry and Physics
Drinking of water polluted with heavy metals is a means by which heavy metals bio accumulate in the human body. The rise in galamsey (illegal mining) activities in Ghana has resulted in heavy metal pollution in most water bodies in the country. Above the permissible limits, these metals cause health issues such as cancer, brain damage, kidney damage and other respiratory diseases. Hence, a smart solution to this menace is urgently needed. In this study, iron oxides were recovered from cupola furnace slag by magnetic separation and froth flotation. The recovered iron oxide was modified using electrospinning with the aid of polyvinyl alcohol after which it was calcined and used as adsorbent to detoxify lead and arsenic from two galamsey polluted water bodies in Obuasi, Ghana. Samples of the adsorbent were characterized using X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), X-ray Diffractometry (XRD), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry (FTIR), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Brunauer-Emmer-Teller (BET) method. The highest recovery for iron oxide using magnetic separation was 99.42% and that of froth flotation was 90.64%. The recovered iron oxide used as adsorbent was composed 53.04% iron oxide, with major phases like magnetite, hematite, goethite and quartz. Moreover, the surface functional group were determined to be Fe–O and OH. Also, the calcined nano fibres which were spherical in shape with rough surfaces had a specific surface area of 1.1331 m2/g. The contaminated and detoxified water were also analyzed using Atomic absorption Spectroscopy (AAS). Both adsorbent (beneficiated iron oxide and calcined nano fibre) performed well in the adsorption process, with the recovered iron oxide having 97.33% maximum lead removal efficiency while an 81.00% maximum removal efficiency for arsenic. The calcined nano fibre had a maximum of 99.99% removal efficiency for lead and 88.40% maximum efficiency for arsenic. Additionally, the adsorption fits the Langmuirian isotherm model better than the Freundlich model, indicating mono layer coverage.
John Ato Koomson, Bennetta Koomson, Clement Owusu, Frank Ofori Agyemang, Detoxification of lead and arsenic from galamsey polluted water using nano synthesized iron oxide from cupola furnace slag, Materials Chemistry and Physics, Volume 308, 2023, 128301