Exposure to Respirable Dust and Factors Associated with Abnormal Pulmonary Function among Stone Diggers in Kayole Quarries, Nairobi City County, Kenya.
Mwangi, Fredah Wanjiku
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Quarrying activities generate huge quantities of dust particles that cause a variety of respiratory illnesses among quarry workers. In Kenya, the quarry industry suffers several constraints: some quarry workers get injured, others get chronic diseases, while some die. Quarry dust control measures are not implemented, and quarry workers are exposed to dust that increases their risk of respiratory diseases. This study assessed occupational exposure to respirable dust and factors associated with abnormal pulmonary function among quarry stone diggers in Mihang’o and Matopeni quarries in Kayole Nairobi City County, Kenya. The study was done in Mihang’o and Matopeni quarries which are mainly involved in stone digging and crushing. An analytical cross-sectional design was used and a sample size of 165 respondents was taken to represent the study population. An interviewer administered semi structured questionnaire was used to assess quarry workers’ respiratory symptoms which were diagnosed by a qualified clinician. Spirometry tests were done by a qualified technician to assess pulmonary function. Respirable dust levels were determined with the aid of a particle counter. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25. Descriptive statistics like frequency, means were used to summarize data and results were presented in frequency tables and graphs. Chi square tests and logistic regression were done to establish relationships between different variables. T tests were done to compare the means of dust levels in the two quarries. This study found the daily mean levels of PM2.5 and PM10 were higher than the levels recommended by WHO. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms among quarry workers was 24.2%. This study found that 12.7% of the respondents had restrictive pulmonary disorders and 10.3% had obstructive pulmonary disorders. The age of the respondents, presence of respiratory symptoms, years of work experience, nostril covering, and smoking were factors associated with abnormal pulmonary function at (p=<0.05). In conclusion the level of respirable dust (PM2.5 and PM10) in Kayole quarries was three times higher than the daily level of 25 ug/m3 for PM2.5 and 50 ug/m3 for PM10 recommended by WHO, chronic exposure to quarry dust increases the risk of developing respiratory symptoms and abnormal pulmonary function. This study recommended that routine particulate matter monitoring should be done in Nairobi quarries to provide data that can inform decisions on air pollution control actions.