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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3081638, 8 pages
Research Article

Bioaerosols, Noise, and Ultraviolet Radiation Exposures for Municipal Solid Waste Handlers

School of Health Systems and Public Health (SHSPH), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Correspondence should be addressed to France Ncube

Received 5 October 2016; Accepted 25 December 2016; Published 12 January 2017

Academic Editor: Evelyn O. Talbott

Copyright © 2017 France Ncube et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Few studies have investigated the occupational hazards of municipal solid waste workers, particularly in developing countries. Resultantly these workers are currently exposed to unknown and unabated occupational hazards that may endanger their health. We determined municipal solid waste workers’ work related hazards and associated adverse health endpoints. A multifaceted approach was utilised comprising bioaerosols sampling, occupational noise, thermal conditions measurement, and field based waste compositional analysis. Results from our current study showed highest exposure concentrations for Gram-negative bacteria (6.8 × 103 cfu/m3) and fungi (12.8 × 103 cfu/m3), in the truck cabins. Significant proportions of toxic, infectious, and surgical waste were observed. Conclusively, municipal solid waste workers are exposed to diverse work related risks requiring urgent sound interventions. A framework for assessing occupational risks of these workers must prioritize performance of exposure assessment with regard to the physical, biological, and chemical hazards of the job.