Quantification of the human health risks associated with kerosene use in the informal settlement of Cato Manor, Durban.
The main objective of this study was to investigate the application of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) human health risk assessment framework for quantifying the adverse human health effects of exposure to inhaled kerosene pollutants in the South African context. The study was based in the informal settlement of Cato Crest in Cato Manor, Durban. This dissertation includes a theoretical review of the environment/health Relationship, the US EPA health risk assessment approach, it's history, and the health effects of kerosene combustion products. Chapter three outlines the methodology for the study, detailing how time-activity pattern data and air quality results were collected from the community of Cato Crest. Chapter four presents the results of the health risk assessments conducted for nitrogen dioxide, benzene and toluene exposure - using both local and US EPA exposure values in the health risk assessments. A critical evaluation of the US EPA human health risk assessment framework in the South African context is provided in chapter five. The results of the study revealed that a 1-hour exposure to the nitrogen dioxide concentrations measured in Cato Crest would not present any adverse health effects. A 24-hour exposure to NO2 using US EPA default exposure values provided a slight possibility of adverse health effects being experienced in sensitive individuals in some houses. 24-Hour exposure to NO2 using local exposure values could result in both sensitive individuals and even some healthy individuals experiencing adverse health effects in all houses. Potential adverse health effects include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, broncho-constriction and increased airway resistance. Sensitive individuals include those with asthma or other respiratory diseases. Exposure to 24hour benzene concentrations (using US EPA default exposure values) is not likely to result in individuals experiencing adverse health effects. Exposure to the same benzene concentrations at local exposure times will cause potential adverse health effects in sensitive individuals. Sensitive individuals are those with respiratory ailments and blood diseases or disorders. Exposure to monitored toluene concentrations over a 24-hour period (using both US EPA default exposure values and local exposure values) is unlikely to result in adverse health effects being experienced by any individuals. The US EPA human health risk assessment framework is seen as applicable to South Africa where developed areas are concerned (as these areas are quite similar to North American populations). In areas of South Africa that are considered less developed or undeveloped, local conditions need to be substituted into health risk assessments where possible.