Milken Institute School of Public Health Poster Presentations (Marvin Center & Video)

Title

Assessing psychophysiological effects of malodorous pollutants in residents of Leandrinho, Bahia, Brazil: A Pilot Study using a WhatsApp-based Questionnaire

Poster Number

37

Document Type

Poster

Status

Undergraduate Student

Abstract Category

Environmental and Occupational Health

Keywords

air pollution, respiratory health, international health, petrochemical, environmental justice

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Abstract

Background: Leandrinho is located in the region that is home to the largest industrial chemical complex in the southern hemisphere that covers approximately 49 km2. Leandrinho residents have reported experiencing adverse health effects that co-occur during periods of malodor emitted by the petrochemical industry. However, there is currently no tool for the residents to systematically record incidents of malodor. This pilot study assessed the feasibility of using a questionnaire designed through Whatsapp, a text-messaging application commonly used among residents.

Method: Leandrinho residents were randomly recruited to complete a daily questionnaire using either paper (n=24) or Whatsapp (n=24) over the course of 49 days. All study participants (n=42) spent most of their days in the town. The age for inclusion ranged from 18 to 50. The questionnaire comprised of six questions that asked when and where odor was detected, as well as the level of odor intensity and symptoms experienced.

Results: Preliminary analysis shows that of the 24 participants randomized into the paper group, only two participants recorded using the paper forms, citing WhatsApp was easier and more convenient. Of the 42 participants, only 30 sent at least one reply over the course of the study. The average number of replies per day was 5.5, and the highest number of responses received on a single day was 12. Only 6 of the 30 participants sent replies on at least 50% of the days. Odor was reported on 24 study days; however, 16 of those days were reported only by one person. Given the low response rate, determining the days when an odor occurred was difficult to determine.

Conclusion: Evaluating the feasibility of a data collecting tool that is widely available and user-friendly is important for addressing the environmental concerns experienced by Leandrinho and for highlighting the need for such tool to be further developed. Further development could result in a more accurate representation of the experiences of Leandrinho and other communities alike.

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Creative Commons License
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Assessing psychophysiological effects of malodorous pollutants in residents of Leandrinho, Bahia, Brazil: A Pilot Study using a WhatsApp-based Questionnaire

Background: Leandrinho is located in the region that is home to the largest industrial chemical complex in the southern hemisphere that covers approximately 49 km2. Leandrinho residents have reported experiencing adverse health effects that co-occur during periods of malodor emitted by the petrochemical industry. However, there is currently no tool for the residents to systematically record incidents of malodor. This pilot study assessed the feasibility of using a questionnaire designed through Whatsapp, a text-messaging application commonly used among residents.

Method: Leandrinho residents were randomly recruited to complete a daily questionnaire using either paper (n=24) or Whatsapp (n=24) over the course of 49 days. All study participants (n=42) spent most of their days in the town. The age for inclusion ranged from 18 to 50. The questionnaire comprised of six questions that asked when and where odor was detected, as well as the level of odor intensity and symptoms experienced.

Results: Preliminary analysis shows that of the 24 participants randomized into the paper group, only two participants recorded using the paper forms, citing WhatsApp was easier and more convenient. Of the 42 participants, only 30 sent at least one reply over the course of the study. The average number of replies per day was 5.5, and the highest number of responses received on a single day was 12. Only 6 of the 30 participants sent replies on at least 50% of the days. Odor was reported on 24 study days; however, 16 of those days were reported only by one person. Given the low response rate, determining the days when an odor occurred was difficult to determine.

Conclusion: Evaluating the feasibility of a data collecting tool that is widely available and user-friendly is important for addressing the environmental concerns experienced by Leandrinho and for highlighting the need for such tool to be further developed. Further development could result in a more accurate representation of the experiences of Leandrinho and other communities alike.