Geology regulating iron absorption, leading to further
Geology of Lafia Formation has inno small measure contributed to the high concentration of iron in thegroundwater of the area. The dumpsites which have many disposed iron materialshave with time leached down the earth, to the groundwater and altered itschemistry since all the three dump under study are older than at least, 30years. Iron encrustation, caused by ferrous iron which is soluble in water andare deposited as ferric iron is suspected to also contribute to the highconcentration of iron in the study area.
The concentration of iron isbetween 0.0906 and 2.6708 in Lafia Municipal. As shown in table 4.7, sample 5,9, 12, 15, 16 and 18 have higher than normal iron concentration for drinkingwater hence could be harmful to human health on continuous intake orconsumption without treatment.
The presence of iron in groundwater isbeneficial to human health on consumption only if the concentration is not inexcess. This is because when loss of iron is not adequately compensated byadequate dietary iron intake, a state of latent iron deficiency occurs, whichover time leads to iron-deficiency anemia if left untreated, which ischaracterized by an insufficient number of red blood cells and an insufficientamount of hemoglobin (CDC, 1998).Children, pre-menopausal women (women of child-bearing age), and people withpoor diet are most susceptible to the disease. Most cases of iron-deficiency anaemiaare mild, but if not treated can cause problems like fast or irregularheartbeat, complications during pregnancy, and delayed growth in infants andchildren (CDC, 1998).
Overdosesof ingested iron can cause excessive levels of free iron in the blood. Highblood levels of free ferrous iron react with peroxides to produce highlyreactive free radicals that can damage DNA, proteins, lipids, and othercellular components. Iron toxicity occurs when the cell contains free iron,which generally occurs when iron levels exceed the availability of transferringto bind the iron. Damage to the cells of the gastrointestinal tract can alsoprevent them from regulating iron absorption, leading to further increases inblood levels. Iron typically damages cells in the heart, liver and elsewhere,causing adverse effects that include coma, metabolic acidosis, shock, liverfailure, coagulopathy, adult respiratory distress syndrome, long-term organdamage, and even death (Cheney et al, 1995). Humans experience iron toxicitywhen the iron exceeds 20 milligrams for every kilogram of body mass; 60milligrams per kilogram is considered a lethal dose (DRI, 2009).Overconsumption of iron, often the result of children eating large quantitiesof ferrous sulfate tablets intended for adult consumption, is one of the mostcommon toxicological causes of death in children under six (DRI, 2009). TheDietary Reference Intake (DRI) sets the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) foradults at 45 mg/day.
For children under fourteen years old the UL is 40 mg/day(DRI, 2009). The medical management of iron toxicity is complicated, and caninclude use of a specific chelating agent called deferoxamine to bind and expelexcess iron from the body.(Cheney et al, 1995) (Tenenbein, 1996) (Wu etal, 2011)