African Journal of
Environmental Science and Technology

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Environ. Sci. Technol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0786
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJEST
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 1126

Full Length Research Paper

The cost of environmental lead (Pb) poisoning in Nigeria

Oladele A. Ogunseitan* and Timothy R. Smith
Program in Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-7070 USA.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 07 August 2007
  •  Published: 30 September 2007



The pervasiveness of human health impacts and ecosystem effects of lead (Pb) is not controversial, but there are serious arguments about the pace at which Pb should be eliminated from consumer products.  Presumably, these arguments can be resolved by converting costs and benefits of Pb use to similar units, a notorious methodological challenge for health impacts in developing countries. To estimate the costs of Pb poisoning attributable to petrochemicals in Nigeria, we conducted a meta-analysis of measured blood lead levels (BLL) and we used published Relative Risk values for disease categories to estimate the proportion of overall disease burden attributable to Pb. We modeled the health costs of Pb exposure and we compared this to the cost of banning Pb. We estimate that Pb exposure accounts for 7 - 25% of the disease burden among Nigerian children, costing the health and education sectors $0.38 – 1.15 billion year-1 for every 1 mg/dL increase in BLL.  In comparison, we estimate that a Pb abatement program in Nigeria will cost $0.076 – 0.23 billion year-1. If a Pb phase-out program is instituted now to lower the national BLL to 1 mg/dL by 2020, a savings of $2.7-8.0 billion would be realized.


Key words: Lead (Pb) poisoning, Cost-benefit analysis, Diseases, Petrochemicals Africa.