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Background: Clinical wastes are potentially toxic elements (PTE) and harmful microorganisms which can infect health workers and their patients. They comprise both biodegradable and non-biodegradable elements. Clinical waste management (CWM) is the control of all waste generated in the hospitals using professional methods that help to prevent the spread of ailments. This study therefore evaluated the concentration of potentially toxic elements (PTE) in the clinical dumpsites in Ebonyi State.
Materials and Methods: The PTE studied were chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), and nickel (Ni). Samples were collected from three major hospitals namely Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA), Rural Improvement Mission (RIM), and Matar Hospitals in Ebonyi North, Central and South senatorial zones respectively. A total of fifteen samples were collected in addition to control samples. Four samples from each of the hospital dumpsites. The samples were dried, digested, filtered, and analyzed for PTE using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (Shimadzu; AA-7000).
Results: At FETHA, the concentration of Cr was 37.00 mg/kg while lead concentration varied from 51.00-19.40 mg/kg and Ni concentration ranged from 9.60-21.74 mg/kg. At R.I.M Hospital, the concentration of Cr varied from 18.50-37.00 mg/kg, the Pb concentration varied from 51.00-207.40 mg/kg while Ni concentration ranged from 7.20-21.70 mg/kg. The concentration of Cr at Matar hospital was observed to be relatively constant at 18.51 mg/kg while the concentration of Pb varied from 6.48-2832.00 mg/kg, and Ni concentration ranged from 2.40-14.50 mg/kg. The result also showed that in the control samples, Cr concentration ranged from 0.07-0.50 mg/kg, while the concentration of Pb and Ni varied from 0.40-0.96 mg/kg, and from 0.07-0.06 mg/kg respectively.
Conclusion: The concentration of PTEs in the clinical waste dumpsites of these facilities was high and therefore constituted a potential health risk to man and his environment. Environmental health officers should be charged with more responsibilities to ensure healthy environment and safety.
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