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1.1      Background of the study

Various devastating ecological effects and human disasters in the last 40 years have arisen majorly from industrial wastes causing environmental degradation (Abdel-Shafy and Abdel-Basir, 1991; Sridhar et al., 2000). The discharges from these industries constitute biohazard to man and other living organisms in the environment because they contain toxic substances detrimental to health (Adebisi et al., 2007; Adriano, 2001; Bakare et al., 2003). Recently, there has been an alarming and worrisome increase in organic pollutants (Nadal et al., 2004). Since many effluents are not treated properly, these products are discharged on the ground or in the water bodies (Odiete, 1999), and most of these discharges to water bodies accumulate in the system through food chain (Odiete, 1999). Pharmaceutical effluents are wastes generated by pharmaceutical industries during the process of drugs manufacturing. Their risk to human health and environmental species cannot be overemphasized. In Nigeria, the increase in demand for pharmaceuticals has resulted in a consequent increase in pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in the country and hence increased pharmaceutical waste which most times contain substantial amount of heavy metals. These effluents are usually discharged into the environment and when improperly handled and disposed, they affect both human health and the environment (Osaigbovo and Orhue, 2006; Ayodele et al., 1996; Anetor et al., 1999).The uncontrollable growing use of pharmaceutical products now constitutes a new challenge. Most pharmaceutical effluents are known to contain varying concentrations of organic compounds and total solids including heavy metals. Heavy metals such as Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Nickel, Chromium and other toxic organic chemicals or phenolic compounds discharged from pharmaceutical industries are known to affect the surface and ground waters (Foess and Ericson, 1980). Due to mutagenic and carcinogenic properties of heavy metals, much attention has been paid to them since they have direct exposures to humans and other organisms. (Momodu and Anyakora, 2010). Heavy metals are natural components of the earth crust. These metals enter into living organisms through food or proximity to emission sources. They tend to bioaccumulate and are stored faster than excreted (Lenntech, 2006; Daniel et al., 1997;Davies et al.,2006). Industrial exposure accounts for a common route of contact in adults and ingestion for children (Roberts, 1999). This study was aimed at determining the presence of six heavy metals, namely Lead, Chromium, Cadmium, Zinc, Copper and Nickel in the effluents of nine selected pharmaceutical companies in Lagos, Nigeria. The results obtained may form the basis for intervention by encouraging the pharmaceutical companies to effectively treat their effluent before being discharged into the environment. Pharmaceutical effluents are waste generated by pharmaceutical industry during the process of drugs manufacturing. Pharmaceutical and personal care products industries suffer from inadequate effluent treatment due to the presence of recalcitrant substances. Some of the most representative pharmaceutical and personal care products found in receiving waters include antibiotics, lipid regulators, anti-inflammatories, antiepileptic’s, tranquilizers, and cosmetic ingredients containing oil and grease. Heavy metals are chemical elements with a specific gravity that is at least 5 times the specific gravity of water. The specific gravity of water is 1 at 4°C (39°F). Simply stated, specific gravity is a measure of density of a given amount of a solid substance when it is compared to an equal amount of water. Heavy metals are dangerous because they tend to bio accumulate and can enter a water supply by industrial and consumer waste, or even from acidic rain breaking down soils and releasing heavy metals into streams, lakes, rivers, and groundwater. Heavy metal toxicity can result in damaged or reduced mental and central nervous function, lower energy levels, and damage to blood composition, lungs, kidneys, liver, and other vital organs. Heavy metals are not biodegradable and tend to accumulate in living organisms, causing various diseases and disorders. In small quantities, certain heavy metals are nutritionally essential for a healthy life. Some of these are referred to as the trace elements (e.g., iron, copper, manganese, and zinc). These elements, or some form of them, are commonly found naturally in foodstuffs, in fruits and vegetables, and in commercially available multivitamin products. Allergies are not uncommon and repeated long-term contact with some metals or their compounds may even cause cancer. Most of the metals are known to be toxic and half of these, including cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver and zinc, are released into the environment in quantities that pose a risk to human.


Presently, some 2.4 billion people lack adequate sanitation and 3.4 million die each year in the world from water related diseases. In most developing countries like Nigeria, most industries dispose their effluents without treatment. These industrial effluents have a hazard effect on water quality, habitat quality, and complex effects on flowing waters. Industrial wastes and emission contain toxic and hazardous substances, most of which are detrimental to human health. The presence of heavy metals in the environment is a potential problem to soil and water quality due to their high toxicity to plants, animals and human life. Heavy metals have been reported to be carcinogenic; apart from being hazardous to living organisms when specific limits are exceeded, they also have accumulating tendencies, unlike organic pollutants that can be degraded chemically or biodegraded. It is in view of this that the researcher intend to investigate the effect of heavy metals present in waste water effluents of pharmaceuticals industries


The main objective of this study is to ascertain the effect of heavy metals prese

 Presents in waste water effluents of pharmaceutical industries; but for the successful completion of the study the researcher intend to achieve the following objectives;

i)             To ascertain the effect of heavy metals presents in waste water effluents of pharmaceutical industries

ii)           To investigate the health impact of heavy metals presents on waste water.

iii)          To investigate the relationship between heavy metals effluents on pharmaceutical industries and environmental health

iv)         To proffer solution to the identified problems


For the successful completion of study the following research hypotheses are formulated by the researcher;

H0: heavy metal presents in waste water does not have any significant effluent on pharmaceutical industries.

H1: heavy metals presents in waste water does have a significant effluent on pharmaceutical industries.

H0: heavy metal present in waste water does not have any impact on the health of Lagosian

H2: heavy metal presents in waste water does have a significant impact on the health of Lagosian.


It is believed that at the completion of this study, the findings will be of great importance to the pharmaceutical industry as the study will seek to enumerate the impact of heavy metal present in waste water on pharmaceutical industries. The study will also be of great importance to the inhabitant of Lagos metropolis as the study seeks to enumerate the effluent of heavy metals presents on waste water presents. The study will also be useful to researchers who intend to embark on research in similar topic; finally the findings of this study will also be immense benefit to government, academia, scholars, researchers and the general public.


The scope of the study covers the effects of heavy metals presents in waste water effluents of pharmaceutical industries in Lagos state, Nigeria. But in the course of the study there are some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a)     AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material      available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

b)     TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider         coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities        and examinations with the study.

c)     FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not     allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the        researcher has other academic bills to cover


Heavy metals

Heavy metals
 are found naturally in the earth. They become concentrated as a result of human caused activities and can enter plant, animal, and human tissues via inhalation, diet, and manual handling. Then, they can bind to and interfere with the functioning of vital cellular components. The toxic effects of arsenic, mercury, and lead were known to the ancients, but methodical studies of the toxicity of some heavy metals appear to date from only 1868. In humans, heavy metal poisoning is generally treated by the administration of chelating agents. Some elements otherwise regarded as toxic heavy metals are essential, in small quantities, for human health  

Pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry discovers, develops, produces, and markets drugs or pharmaceutical drugs for use as medications. Pharmaceutical companies may deal in generic or brand medications and medical devices

Waste water

Wastewater, also written as waste water, is any water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic influence. Wastewater can originate from a combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff or storm water, and from sewer inflow or infiltration


Effluent is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as "wastewater - treated or untreated - that flows out of a treatment plant, sewer, or industrial outfall. Generally refers to wastes discharged into surface waters". The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines effluent as "liquid waste or sewage discharged into a river or the sea


        This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter.     Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

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