Exposure to toxic waste containing high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide illegally dumped in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
- 380 Downloads
On August 2006, a cargo ship illegally dumped 500 t of toxic waste containing high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide in numerous sites across Abidjan. Thousands of people became ill. Seventeen deaths were associated with toxic waste exposure.
Materials and methods
This study reports on environmental and health problems associated with the incident. A cross-sectional transect study was conducted in five waste dumping site areas.
Of the households, 62.1% (n = 502) were exposed to the effects of the pollutants and 51.1% of the interviewed people (n = 2,368) in these households showed signs of poisoning. Most important symptoms were cough (37.1%), asthenia (33.1%), pruritus (29.9%) and nausea (29.1%).
The health effects showed different frequencies in the five waste impact sites. Among the poisoned persons, 21.1% (n = 532) presented symptoms on the survey day (i.e., 4 months after incident). Transect sampling allowed to determine a radius of vulnerability to exposure of up to 3 km from the point of toxic waste disposal.
The area of higher vulnerability is influenced by various environmental factors, such as size and severity of pollution site, duration of toxic waste pollution on the impact site and locally climatic conditions. The surveillance of effects on environment and human health is warranted to monitor the development.
KeywordsAbidjan Toxic waste Sampling by transects Hydrogen sulphide Exposure
We are grateful for the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) country office in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the Côte d’Ivoire Government Committee of Toxic Waste and the Ministry of Health in Côte d’Ivoire. Furthermore, we would like to thank the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques in Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS) and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and the programme NCCR North–South for the financial and technical support, and SODEXAM for providing meteorological data.
- Bassam D, Jaffar AA (2010) Hydrogen sulphide exposure in an adult male. Ann Saudi Med 30(1):76–80Google Scholar
- Bennett S, Woods T, Liyanage WM, Smith DL (1991) A simplified general method for cluster-sample surveys of health in developing countries. Rapp Trimest Statist Sanit Mond 44:98–106Google Scholar
- Chaturvedi AK, Smith DR, Canfield DV (2001). A fatality caused by accidental production of hydrogen sulfide. Foren Sci Inter 123, (2–3):211–214Google Scholar
- Chen X, Hong Q, Tao X (1993) Effect of ambient SO2 pollution on pulmonary function of women and children. J Environ Health 10:152–154Google Scholar
- Dongo K, Koné BA, Issiaka T, Biémi J, Tanner M, Zinsstag J, Cissé G (2009) Exposition environnementale à des déchets contenant du mercaptan, des hydrocarbures aromatiques et de l’hydrogène sulfuré (Abidjan). Environnement Risques Santé 19(4):519–527Google Scholar
- Georgieva T, Lukanova A, Panev T, Popov T (1998) Study of erythrocytes, hemoglobin levels, and menstrual cycle characteristics of women exposed to aromatic hydrocarbons. Int Arch Occup Environ Heal 71(Suppl):S16–S18Google Scholar
- INRS (1997) Sulfure d’hydrogène. Fiche toxicologique N° 32, 6p.Google Scholar
- Ministère de la santé et de l’hygiène publique (2006) Bilan partiel de la prise en charge médicale des personnes exposées aux déchets toxiques, Rapport d’étude Octobre 2006; 26p.Google Scholar
- Pollard E, Elias DO, Skelton MJ, Thomas JA (1975) A method of assessing the abundance of butterflies in Monks Wood NNR in 1973. Entomologists Gazette 26:76–88Google Scholar
- Park SH, Zhang Y, Hwang J-J (2009) Discolouration of the brain as the only remarkable autopsy finding in hydrogen sulphide poisoning. For Science Int 187:19–21Google Scholar
- World Health Organization (WHO) (2003) Hydrogen sulphide: human health aspects, Concise International Chemical Assessment Document 53, Geneva.Google Scholar