Respiratory Health Effects of Pollution Due to Artisanal Crude-Oil Refining in Bayelsa, Nigeria

Benson Chukwunweike Ephraim-Emmanuel, Okokon Enembe, Best Ordinioha

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Purpose: Artisanal refining of crude oil has been associated with the manifestations of various health problems directly related to the release of particulate matter, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), into the environment. This study thus assessed the respiratory health effects associated with being resident in areas where crude oil is artisanally refined in Bayelsa State. Material and methods: This study utilized a comparative, cross-sectional design and was conducted in three communities in Bayelsa State. These included Sampou (a mildly exposed community), Nembe, and Gbarain (severely exposed communities). A sample population of 615 adults selected by multistage sampling completed the study instrument, which assessed data on their respiratory health. Environmental monitoring of the PAHs levels of the samples was done, and concentrations were determined using the gas chromatography/flame ionization detector (GC/FID). The Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 25 was used to conduct descriptive and inferential analyses. Results: Findings revealed that the highest number of moderate to severe respiratory disease symptoms was experienced by respondents from Nembe 12 (41.4%), followed by those from Sampou 8 (27.6%), and then by those from Gbarain 9 (31.0%). Also, coughing that occurred mostly when lying down was found to be significantly prevalent among residents of Nembe [35 (47.9%); p-value: 0.016], among other symptoms. Respiratory disease symptoms were more likely to be found among females (p-value: 0.037), smokers (p-value: 0.002), and those having a low health risk perception related to PAHs exposure (p-value: 0.002). Conclusion: Respondents from the three study sites had in the past 12 months experienced various respiratory disease symptoms, which could be directly related to their exposure to pollution from artisanal crude oil refining. Artisanal refining of crude oil should be continually dissuaded through unwavering enforcement of environmental health laws in order to further improve public and environmental health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Global Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


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