Occupational exposure to roadway emissions and inside informal settlements in sub-Saharan Africa: A pilot study in Nairobi, Kenya
Ngo, Nicole S
Chillrud, Steven N
Kinney, Patrick L
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Few studies examine urban air pollution in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), yet urbanization rates there are among the highest in the world. In this study, we measured 8-hr average occupational exposure levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), black carbon (BC), ultra violet active-particulate matter (UV-PM), and trace elements for individuals who worked along roadways in Nairobi, specifically bus drivers, garage workers, street vendors, and women who worked inside informal settlements. We found BC and re-suspended dust were important contributors to PM2.5 levels for all study populations, particularly among bus drivers, while PM2.5 exposure levels for garage workers, street vendors, and informal settlement residents were not statistically different from each other. We also found a strong signal for biomass emissions and trash burning, which is common in Nairobi's low-income areas and open-air garages. These results suggest that the large portion of urban residents in SSA who walk along roadways would benefit from air quality regulations targeting roadway emissions from diesel vehicles, dust, and trash burning. This is the first study to measure occupational exposure to urban air pollution in SSA and results imply that roadway emissions are a serious public health concern.