Geology regulating iron absorption, leading to further

Geology of Lafia Formation has in
no small measure contributed to the high concentration of iron in the
groundwater of the area. The dumpsites which have many disposed iron materials
have with time leached down the earth, to the groundwater and altered its
chemistry since all the three dump under study are older than at least, 30
years. Iron encrustation, caused by ferrous iron which is soluble in water and
are deposited as ferric iron is suspected to also contribute to the high
concentration of iron in the study area.

The concentration of iron is
between 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 drinking
water hence could be harmful to human health on continuous intake or
consumption without treatment. The presence of iron in groundwater is
beneficial to human health on consumption only if the concentration is not in
excess. This is because when loss of iron is not adequately compensated by
adequate dietary iron intake, a state of latent iron deficiency occurs, which
over time leads to iron-deficiency anemia if left untreated, which is
characterized by an insufficient number of red blood cells and an insufficient
amount of hemoglobin (CDC, 1998).
Children, pre-menopausal women (women of child-bearing age), and people with
poor diet are most susceptible to the disease. Most cases of iron-deficiency anaemia
are mild, but if not treated can cause problems like fast or irregular
heartbeat, complications during pregnancy, and delayed growth in infants and
children (CDC, 1998).

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Overdoses
of ingested iron can cause excessive levels of free iron in the blood. High
blood levels of free ferrous iron react with peroxides to produce highly
reactive free radicals that can damage DNA, proteins, lipids, and other
cellular components. Iron toxicity occurs when the cell contains free iron,
which generally occurs when iron levels exceed the availability of transferring
to bind the iron. Damage to the cells of the gastrointestinal tract can also
prevent them from regulating iron absorption, leading to further increases in
blood levels. Iron typically damages cells in the heart, liver and elsewhere,
causing adverse effects that include coma, metabolic acidosis, shock, liver
failure, coagulopathy, adult respiratory distress syndrome, long-term organ
damage, and even death (Cheney et al, 1995). Humans experience iron toxicity
when the iron exceeds 20 milligrams for every kilogram of body mass; 60
milligrams per kilogram is considered a lethal dose (DRI, 2009).
Overconsumption of iron, often the result of children eating large quantities
of ferrous sulfate tablets intended for adult consumption, is one of the most
common toxicological causes of death in children under six (DRI, 2009). The
Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) sets the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for
adults 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 can
include use of a specific chelating agent called deferoxamine to bind and expel
excess iron from the body.
(Cheney et al, 1995) (Tenenbein, 1996) (Wu et
al, 2011)