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Volume 10 (2010), Pages 972-985
Research Article

Distribution, Levels, and Risk Assessment of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Some Water Bodies along the Coastal Belt of Ghana

Department of Chemistry, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana

Received 26 February 2010; Revised 6 April 2010; Accepted 18 April 2010

Academic Editor: Lars Sonesten

Copyright © 2010 David Kofi Essumang.


The levels and distribution of 24 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined in six water bodies along the coastal belt of Ghana using gas chromatography with flame-ionization detection (GC/FID). The average total PAHs recorded are from the Pra estuary, 6.3 μg/L; Benya lagoon, 7.5 μg/L; Sakumono lagoon, 10.1 μg/L; lower Volta estuary, 26.3 μg/L; Keta lagoon, 10.6 μg/L; and Narkwa lagoon, 16.1 μg/L.The 12 PAHs that were well distributed in all the coastal waters analyzed include naphthalene, pyrene, fluorene, 2-methylnaphthalene, 2,6-dimethylnaphthalene, acephnaphthalene, acephnaphthene, 1-methylphenanthrene, 2,3,5-trimethylnaphthalene, chrysene, biphenyl, and phenanthrene. The presence of benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(a)anthracene, and benzo(j,k)fluoranthene in some of the water bodies is a source of concern as they have been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as probable human carcinogens. These water bodies are used for fishing and for some domestic purposes by the people living around them, thereby exposing them to some dangers and the risk of getting cancer. The human health cancer risk assessment carried out also indicates that there is the possibility of some users of the water bodies getting cancer in their lifetime.