South Durban Health Study

Department of Occupational and Environmental Health

South Durban Health Study

This study was being led by Profs. Rajen Naidoo and Nceba Gqaleni, with a team of co-researchers, including collaborators at the Durban Institute of Technology (Ms. Joy Kistnasamy and Mr. Mike van der Merwe), University of Michigan (Profs Tom Robins and Stuart Batterman) and at the National Institute for Occupational Health (Dr. Ina Naik). The project was funded by the eThekwini Municipality, as part of the Multi-Point Plan for South Durban.

The study explored the relationship between environmental exposures and health, and had two overall objectives:

(1) To determine the health status of the Durban South residents, with specific reference to respiratory health outcomes and other chronic diseases and to determine the relationship between environmental pollution, these health outcomes and the quality of life within this community, particularly among susceptible populations (“the epidemiological study”).

(2) To describe the range of ambient exposures and to assess the potential risks posed by such exposures to the health of the community in the Durban South (“the health risk assessment”). Grade 4 pupils from seven primary schools in the south (Merebank, Wentworth, Bluff and Lamontville) and the north (Newlands East and West and KwaMashu) were selected (n=423), together with members of their households (n=1500). Each of the children underwent extensive health assessments, including spirometry (including methacholine challenge testing), allergen testing, serum cotinine, lead and manganese assessments. Each child participated in four three week cycles of bihourly spirometric assessments during the schoolday. At each school continuous sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide and 24 hour particulate matter (PM10) are assessed. At two of these schools, ozone and PM2.5 are assessed. At these latter two sites, 6th day sampling of VOCs and metals were done.

To download the Final Report of the South Durban Health Study, please click here

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