Levels of Cadmium in domestic water sources in Bihanga-Buhweju district Southern Western Region
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Domestic water is an essential public health issue globally. This is because drinking water are source of borne diseases due to microbial pathogens, bio toxins and heavy metals, contamination of domestic water sources present serious threats to the health of thousands of millions of people. Cadmium also affects the nervous system, causes damage to DNA and the immune system, and enhances the development of cancer. It can also cause other non-cancerous diseases that include loss of sense of smell and taste, fibrosis, upper respiratory diseases, shortness of breath, skeletal effects, hypertension, tubular proteinuria, and cardiovascular diseases. These contaminants find their way into the domestic water sources. The objective of this study was to determine the levels of cadmium in Bihanga gold mines in Buwheju district. Water samples were collected from various domestic water sources. Ten (10) domestic water samples were collected from abandoned domestic gold mines and twenty (20) from domestic water sources which are near gold mines. Both batches of samples were then analyzed for cadmium contamination using the Atomic absorption spectrophotometer from chemistry analytical laboratory at Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI). The results revealed that domestic water samples levels were unsafe for consumption with high levels of cadmium above the tolerable levels of 0.03mg/L Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS). The mean values for cadmium for abandoned gold mines domestic water sources and domestic water sources which are near gold mines were 0.945mg/L and 0.845mg/L respectively and the p-value was 0.33. Therefore, domestic water sources in Bihanga gold mines are not suitable for consumption because of high levels of cadmium which is cacogenic in nature which cause health problems such as kidney damage, bronchitis, and osteomalacia (soft bones) at very low exposure levels.