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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(7)2022 04 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785664


The contamination of soil by heavy metals is a potential health risk, especially among susceptible populations. The aim of this study was to measure the levels of heavy metals, identify the contamination levels and possible sources of heavy metals, and evaluate the health risk caused by heavy metals to the children living in Kuils River. Composite samples of soil were collected at 34 preschools. A portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer was used to measure the levels of metals. Contamination levels were evaluated using a geoaccumulation index (Igeo), enrichment factor (EF), contamination factor (CF) and pollution load index (PLI). The spatial distribution of the Igeo contamination levels was assessed using ArcGIS. Sources of heavy metals and the correlation among metals were assessed using factor analysis and Pearson correlation, respectively. The measured concentrations of metals were used to estimate the health risk for children. The average levels of the metals were 16, 4469, 137, 30, 176, 1547 and 232 mg/kg for arsenic (As), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), lead (Pb), strontium (Sr), titanium (Ti) and zinc (Zn), respectively. According to Igeo, EF, CF and PLI contamination exist in the study area. The health index (HI) for non-carcinogenic effects showed the ingestion route as the main contributor to the total risk, with the accumulative carcinogenic risk exceeding the maximum acceptable level. To protect the affected communities, and children in particular, this study provides evidence of the need for action, including the institution of mandatory buffer zones between pollutant-generating activities and human settlements.

Metals, Heavy , Soil Pollutants , Child , Child, Preschool , China , Environmental Monitoring , Humans , Metals, Heavy/analysis , Risk Assessment , Rivers , Soil , Soil Pollutants/analysis , South Africa
Ann Glob Health ; 88(1): 3, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1761049


Background: Household air pollution (HAP) is associated with adverse human health impacts. During COVID-19 Lockdown Levels 5 and 4 (the most stringent levels), South Africans remained at home, potentially increasing their exposure to HAP. Objectives: To investigate changes in fuel use behaviours/patterns of use affecting HAP exposure and associated HAP-related respiratory health outcomes during COVID-19 Lockdown Levels 5 and 4. Methods: This was a cross-sectional online and telephonic survey of participants from an existing database. Logistic regression and McNemar's test were used to analyse household-level data. Results: Among 2 505 participants, while electricity was the main energy source for cooking and heating the month before and during Lockdown Levels 5 and 4, some households used less electricity during Lockdown Levels 5 and 4 or switched to "dirty fuels." One third of participants reported presence of environmental tobacco smoke in the home, a source of HAP associated with respiratory illnesses. Prevalence of HAP-related respiratory health outcomes were <10% (except dry cough). Majority of households reported cooking more, cleaning more and spending more time indoors during Lockdown Levels 5 and 4 - potentially exposed to HAP. Conclusion: Should South Africa return to Lockdown Levels 5 or 4, awareness raising about the risks associated with HAP as well as messaging information for prevention of exposure to HAP, including environmental tobacco smoke, and associated adverse health impacts will be necessary.

Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Air Pollution/analysis , Air Pollution/statistics & numerical data , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , Air Pollution, Indoor/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Cooking , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology