Toenail Metal Exposures in Fishermen from Bodo City, Nigeria

Aaron J. Specht, Aisha S. Dickerson, Kale Z. Kponee-Shovein, Kpobari W. Nkpaa, Marc G. Weisskopf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We conducted exposure assessment using toenails from 20 fishermen living in Bodo City, a community of the Niger delta region in Nigeria. This community has been affected by over 4000 oil spills and environmental disasters. Fishing is the primary source of food and income for individuals in this community. Previous research in Bodo City found elevated metal levels in fish. Toenails were used as a biomarker to investigate the feasibility for use in risk assessment studies in developing countries. The toenails collected had significantly higher manganese levels (median 5.8 µg/g) and lead levels (median 0.98 µg/g) than those reported in more developed countries, comparable levels to those from other low-middle incomes countries. These exposure levels are likely a direct result of exposures from the environmental disasters the community has experienced and would be related to increased risks for many diseases previously associated with heavy metal exposures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-95
Number of pages6
JournalBulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Metals
  • Nigeria
  • Oil spills
  • Toenails

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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