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01.12.2017 | Regular Article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine 1/2017

Occupation exposed to road-traffic emissions and respiratory health among Congolese transit workers, particularly bus conductors, in Kinshasa: a cross-sectional study

Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2017
Etongola Papy Mbelambela, Ryoji Hirota, Masamitsu Eitoku, Sifa Marie Joelle Muchanga, Hidenori Kiyosawa, Kahoko Yasumitsu-Lovell, Ontshick Leader Lawanga, Narufumi Suganuma



Road-traffic emissions (RTE) induce adverse health effects, notably respiratory symptoms and respiratory diseases, as a result of pollutants deposited into the respiratory tract. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between occupation groups of Congolese transit workers exposed to RTE, particularly bus conductors and respiratory health, in Kinshasa.


A cross-sectional study was conducted from 2015 April 20th to May 14th, whose participants were bus conductors (n = 110), bus drivers (n = 107), taxi-motorcyclists (n = 102) and high school teachers (control group; n = 106). Subjects had completed the American Thoracic Society respiratory symptom questionnaire. Lung function test was performed by spirometry. Air pollutants levels of PM2.5, NO2 and SO2 were measured between 7:30 and 8:30 and 16:30–17:30 using a portable gas monitor.
Multivariate analysis was performed to evaluate the association between occupation exposed to RTE and impaired pulmonary function, after adjustment by plausible confounders.


The prevalence of mixed syndrome was 21.9% for bus conductors, 10.9% for bus drivers, 15.4% for taxi-motorcyclists and 7.1% for high school teachers with (p < 0.05). The risk of developing a mixed syndrome was seven times higher among bus conductors [OR = 7.64; 95% CI: 1.83–31.67; p < 0.05] than other groups. Additionally, the prevalence of respiratory syndromes increased with the duration of exposure.


Occupation exposed to RTE is associated with impaired pulmonary function and the prevalence of respiratory symptoms among transit workers, especially bus conductors. Furthermore, this association increases with the duration of exposure suggesting the necessity to regulate these categories of occupations and to apply preventives measures.

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