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Home / Health & Science

Fumes from unleaded fuel lowers children’s IQ

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy PROTUS ONYANGO | Mon,Jun 21 2021 05:05:00 EAT
By PROTUS ONYANGO | Mon,Jun 21 2021 05:05:00 EAT


The situation is worsened by an average of three hours people spend in traffic jams. [Courtesy]

Dirty fuel used by motorists is the biggest pollutant of air in Kenya’s major cities and towns, research has shown, with Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret portrayed as the most affected.

However, in the entire country, minerals, human waste, old computers and mobile phones are the biggest polluters, according to findings from the Department of Geology, University of Nairobi published in the 2019 Africa Journal of Physical Science.

Nairobi’s case is particularly worsened by smoke from roadside rubbish fires, diesel generators and indoor cooking stoves.

According to lead researcher Eric Odada, the dirty fuels are from “vehicles condemned by the manufacturers in Japan, South Korea and the Middle East, but they are sold to us” besides petroleum dealers selling unleaded fuel- which contains lead which causes cancer and affects children’s brains and thus interfering with their IQ

The situation is worsened by an average of three hours people spend in traffic jams inhaling toxic fumes mostly those in urban centre which also have large numbers of vehicles.

“Kenya has no capacity to know whether or not fuel is unleaded because of old technology,” said Prof Odada adding that we also have no capacity to detect minerals in water, yet “miners are using mercury and cyanide to process gold. This is the cause of premature births in Macalda goldmine in Migori County.”

Kenya also lacks the technology to detect rare earth metals found in mobile phones and old computers and therefore many users are exposed to harmful toxic emissions endangering their health and “in future we will witness more cancers and heart disease, more asthma cases and respiratory diseases” cautioned Prof Odada. 

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