Main Article Content
Aim: This study was carried out to ascertain whether or not occupational exposure affects the haematocrit, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and methaemoglobin levels of municipal solid waste (MSW) collectors.
Methodology: A total of 60 male subjects were recruited for this study, out of which 30 subjects were apparently healthy and were used as the control subjects, while the other 30 subjects were municipal solid waste collectors (sanitation workers) randomly recruited during collection of solid wastes from three dumpsites in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria. Out of the 30 sanitation workers, 10 subjects made use of nose masks on routine basis during waste collection, while the remaining 20 subjects did not use nose masks. Both informed and written consent was obtained from each subject. The haematocrit (HCT) was analysed using the microhaematocrit method, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) using the westergren method, and the methaemoglobin (metHb) using the colorimetric method by Lewis and Roper.
Results: The results showed a significantly lower (p<0.05) HCT, but a significantly higher (p<0.05) levels of ESR and metHb in MSW collectors as compared to the control subjects. MSW collectors who never used nose mask during waste collection had a significantly lower (p<0.05) HCT, but significantly higher (p<0.05) ESR and Methaemoglobin levels compared to MSW collectors who use nose mask routinely during waste collection and transportation.
Conclusion: From the results of this study, it is evident that occupational exposure had a negative impact on MSW collectors by affecting their HCT, ESR and MetHb levels. Therefore, we recommend that these workers be provided with personal protective equipment such as protective clothing and particularly nose mask, to prevent or reduce the inhalation of the toxic and pungently foul smell emanating from these wastes.