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Open AccessArticle

Prevalence of Respiratory Health Symptoms among Landfill Waste Recyclers in the City of Johannesburg, South Africa

1
National Institute for Occupational Health, National Health Laboratory Services, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
2
School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
3
Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
4
Environment and Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4277; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214277
Received: 10 September 2019 / Revised: 15 October 2019 / Accepted: 16 October 2019 / Published: 4 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Respiratory Health)
In developing countries, waste sorting and recycling have become a source of income for poorer communities. However, it can potentially pose significant health risks. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of acute respiratory symptoms and associated risk factors for respiratory health outcomes among waste recyclers. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 361 waste recyclers at two randomly selected landfill sites in Johannesburg. Convenience sampling was used to sample the waste recyclers. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms in the population was 58.5%. A persistent cough was the most common symptom reported (46.8%), followed by breathlessness (19.6%) and rapid breathing (15.8%). Approximately 66.4% of waste recyclers reported exposure to chemicals and 96.6% reported exposure to airborne dust. A multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that exposure to waste containing chemical residues (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.01–3.22 p = 0.044) increased the odds of respiratory symptoms. There was a significant difference in respiratory symptoms in landfill sites 1 and 2 (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.03–7.42 p = 0.042). Occupational health and safety awareness is important to minimize hazards faced by informal workers. In addition, providing waste recyclers with the correct protective clothing, such as respiratory masks, and training on basic hygiene practices, could reduce the risks associated with waste sorting. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cross-sectional study; informal workers; landfill sites; respiratory symptoms; waste recyclers Cross-sectional study; informal workers; landfill sites; respiratory symptoms; waste recyclers
MDPI and ACS Style

Tlotleng, N.; Kootbodien, T.; Wilson, K.; Made, F.; Mathee, A.; Ntlebi, V.; Kgalamono, S.; Mokone, M.; Du Preez, K.; Naicker, N. Prevalence of Respiratory Health Symptoms among Landfill Waste Recyclers in the City of Johannesburg, South Africa. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4277.

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