Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 201–211 | Cite as

Health risks and economic costs of exposure to PCDD/Fs from open burning: a case study in Nairobi, Kenya

  • Yi-Hsuan Shih
  • Stephanie Jepng’etich Kasaon
  • Chao-Heng Tseng
  • Huang-Chin Wang
  • Ling-Ling Chen
  • Yu-Ming Chang


This study assesses the incremental health risk of exposure to dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs) from indiscriminate burning of wastes in Nairobi and the potential economic benefits of reductions in dioxin-induced cancer mortality contributed by proper waste management. Fugacity models level III incorporated with the Human Health Risk Assessment Protocol (HHRAP) (USEPA 2005a) and CalTOX were utilized to simulate the PCDD/F levels in biotic environmental compartments. PCDD/F concentrations in samples of potatoes, eggs, beef, and long life milk were analyzed and compared with the modeled values. The PCDD/F concentration of 3.35 pg TEQ/g in the milk sample was observed to rank the highest in food samples and exceeded the European Union criteria. Comparison results suggest that the level III + HHRAP is more conservative than CalTOX in health risk assessment. Regularities in the analyzed WHO-TEQ congener profiles for the food samples were discussed. The incremental dietary exposure to PCDD/Fs for the residents in Nairobi was estimated to be 0.08–2.15 pg TEQ/kg-day, falling within the WHO tolerable daily intake of 1–4 pg TEQ/kg-day. Potential excess cancers due to dietary exposure to PCDD/F associated with all illegal waste burning in Nairobi were estimated to be 636 cases over the 30-year time period or 21 cases/year, accounting for 0.05 % of cancer cases in the entire country of Kenya. With the waste recycling rate increased by 5 % and the opening of the new sanitary landfill that can reduce 50 % of waste disposed at the Dandora dumpsite, the economic benefits of avoided cancer deaths is expected to be US$ 0.16–1.93 million. These results indicate that additional actions on waste management, e.g., waste minimization and construction of sanitary landfill, should be implemented for the public health of Kenyans.


PCDD/Fs Fugacity model Risk assessment Economic costs Waste management Open burning 



The authors acknowledge the financial support of the National Science Council of the Republic of China, Taiwan under contract no. NSC 100-2628-E-027-007-MY3. We would also like to express appreciation to Faiza Ramadhan, Marion Amulyoto, and Joseph Kasaon for sample collection and exportation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi-Hsuan Shih
    • 1
  • Stephanie Jepng’etich Kasaon
    • 2
  • Chao-Heng Tseng
    • 1
  • Huang-Chin Wang
    • 1
  • Ling-Ling Chen
    • 1
  • Yu-Ming Chang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Taipei University of TechnologyTaipeiRepublic of China
  2. 2.Graduate School of Global Environmental StudiesSophia UniversityTokyoJapan

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