Publications


2017

Faridah H Were, Wafula GA, Wairungu S.  2017.  Phytoremediation using bamboo to reduce the risk of chromium exposure from a contaminated tannery site in Kenya. Journal of Health and Pollution. 7(16):12-25. AbstractJournal of Health and Pollution

Description
Background. This study examines an intervention strategy to reduce the risk of chromium (Cr) exposure. It follows a previous Cr exposure investigation, which revealed that large volumes of Cr-contaminated waste were burnt on site. The study site had a long history of land-based waste disposal since 1994.
Objective. The potential for phytoremediation using bamboo species to restore Cr-contaminated soil was evaluated.
Methods. Chromium levels and physico-chemical properties of the tannery and control soils were analyzed before transplanting six different bamboo species. Translocation, bio-concentration and bioaccumulation factors of the species were assessed for phytoremediation capabilities.
Results. Chromium levels in the tannery soils ranged from 1337.0 to 3398.0 mg/kg dw. The chromium levels were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than those of the control soils (0.20 to 2.34 mg/kg dw) and …

2015

Abong'o, DA, Wandiga SO, Jumba IO, den Brink PJV, Naziriwo BB, Madadi VO, WAFULA GA, Nkedi-Kizza P, Kylin H.  2015.  Occurrence, abundance and distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates in the Nyando River catchment, Kenya. African journal of aquatic science. 40(4):373-392. Abstract

Description
A baseline study was conducted of the occurrence of macroinvertebrates at 26 sites in the Nyando River catchment in 2005–2006. A total of 13 orders and 16 families of Arthropoda, Mollusca, Platyhelminthes and Annelida were collected, with the order Ephemeroptera being most abundant in the up- and mid-stream reaches, followed by Hemiptera and Plecoptera respectively. The downstream sections of the river were dominated by Hirudinea and tubificids, as the water quality deteriorated mainly due to local land use, raw sewage effluent discharge and annual floods. Insects and annelids were the main invertebrates found and the extent of pollution increased from mid-section (Site 15) downwards as the river flowed into the Winam Gulf. Stringent management measures are required to safeguard the environment and ecosystems of Lake Victoria.

2014

Faridah H Were, Moturi CM, Wafula GA.  2014.  Chromium exposure and related health effects among tannery workers in Kenya. Journal of Health Pollution. 4(7):25-35. AbstractJournal of Health Pollution

Description
Background. There is increasing concern over the health effects of chromium (Cr) exposure stemming from various activities in tanneries in Kenya. Chromium is a toxic metal in its hexavalent form, and is widely used in the tanning process.
Objectives. A detailed exposure assessment of Cr and related health effects among tannery workers in Kenya was performed.
Methods. Spot urine and 8-hour full-shift personal breathing zone air samples of the workers (N = 40) and control group (N = 40) were collected and subsequently analyzed for total Cr using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The medical history, respiratory, and dermatological condition of each of the selected workers was determined. Lung function was further investigated using a spirometer.
Results. Tannery workers in various production lines had significantly (P < 0.05) higher mean airborne Cr levels (± standard deviation [SD] of 63.0±11.6 μg …

FH, W, MC M, P G, A WG, GN K.  2014.  Lead exposure and blood pressure among workers in diverse industrial plants in Kenya.. PubMed. 11(11):706-15. Abstract

Abstract

The study evaluated airborne exposures and blood lead (BPb) levels in 233 production workers at six diverse industrial plants in Kenya. Blood and personal breathing zone air samples were collected and analyzed for lead (Pb) using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Blood pressure (BP) levels were measured using a standard mercury sphygmomanometer. The results indicated mean airborne Pb levels ± standard deviation (SD) as follows: 183.2 ± 53.6 μg/m(3) in battery recycling, 133.5 ± 39.6 μg/m(3) in battery manufacturing, 126.2 ± 39.9 μg/m(3) in scrap metal welding, 76.3 ± 33.2 μg/m(3) in paint manufacturing, 27.3 ± 12.1 μg/m(3) in a leather manufacturing, and 5.5 ± 3.6 μg/m(3) in a pharmaceutical plant. The mean airborne Pb levels exceeded the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 8-hr time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) for Pb of 50 μg/m(3) in the battery manufacturing, battery recycling, welding, and paint manufacturing plants. Similarly, mean BPb concentrations exceeded the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®) biological exposure index (BEI) for Pb of 30 μg/dl. A significant positive association was observed between BPb and breathing zone air Pb (R(2) = 0.73, P < 0.001). Approximately 30% of the production workers (N = 233) were in the hypertensive range with an average systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) of 134.7 ± 12.7 mmHg and 86.4 ± 8.9 mmHg, respectively. In the multivariate regression analysis, age, duration of work, airborne Pb and BPb levels were significantly associated (P < 0.05) with a change in BP. We recommend improved engineering controls, work practices, and personal hygiene to reduce Pb exposures. In addition, workers should undergo comprehensive medical surveillance to include BPb and BP testing, and airborne Pb assessments in all industries with significant lead exposures.
KEYWORDS:

airborne lead; blood lead; industrial workers; occupational exposure;  blood pressure

2013

2012

Wafula, GA.  2012.  Air and blood lead levels in lead acid battery recycling and manufacturing plants in Kenya. Journal of occupational and Environmental hygeine. 9(5):340-344.

1999

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