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Experts advocate control of vehicle fumes

Some medical practitioners in Lagos have urged the three tiers of government to introduce measures that will protect citizens against the hazards of vehicle fumes.

They made the plea in separate interviews with the Newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday.

Dr Olaleye Adewale, a medical practitioner at General Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos, said that vehicles exhaust fumes constituted hazard to human lives.

Adewale, a cardiologist, said: “practically, every Nigerian is exposed to fumes from the combustion of petrol and diesel engines.

“We get even heavier doses when we are caught up in traffic, thereby breathing in and out huge volume of poisonous gases in the atmosphere.

“We should introduce a legislation that will assist the country to move toward using safer fossil fuels and stop the movement of vehicle with excessive emission of fumes.

“The poisonous product in the vehicle engine emissions are carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde and various types of polycyclic hydrocarbons containing lead, sulphur and particles,” Adewale said.

He urged Nigerians to try as much as possible to avoid inhaling the smoke from vehicle exhaust fumes.

“Exposure to diesel exhaust fumes may lead to certain health problems and these problems typically occur based on the rates of exposure either short term or long-term exposure.

“These health problems can include lung diseases, headaches, heart diseases, asthma, lung damage and immune system problems.

“Those already suffering from asthma may experience worsening asthma symptoms.

“A short-term effect of vehicle exhaust fume exposure can cause irritation; some people will experience respiratory tract irritation, eye irritation or both.

“When a person is exposed to relatively high levels of diesel exhaust for a short time, they may also experience coughing, a feeling of heaviness in their chest and shortness of breath.

“As a long-term effect, the coughing, heavy chest and shortness of breath can become a chronic problem. The chronic problem can result to cancer in the lungs, kidney, bladder, and pancreas.”

Adewale said that those who were often exposed to diesel exhaust fumes might experience certain health problems that might lead to death.

Also, Prof. Augustine Ohwovoriole, a consultant physician at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), said that car fumes could raise the risk of heart attack and stroke, harmful changes in blood vessels and clotting.

“I advise people to stay away from traffic to cut the risk, especially if they have known heart conditions.

“Air pollution makes the blood stickier which could increase the chances of a heart attack.

“When a person is exposed to relatively high levels of diesel exhaust for a short time, the blood is more likely to clot.

“This could lead to a blockage of vessel resulting in heart attack or stroke,” Ohwovoriole said.

Another consultant surgeon, Dr Segun Alatise, also of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), said that lung cancer was linked to vehicle exhaust fume.

“Several studies of workers exposed to diesel exhaust fume have shown significant increases in the risk of lung cancer.

“Rail workers, vehicle and truck drivers, who have prolonged exposures to fumes, were found to have high rate of death from lung cancer than the unexposed workers,” he said.



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