Term of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Epidemiology (COPH)

Committee Chair

Evans Afriyie-Gywau

Committee Member 1

Kelly Sullivan

Committee Member 2

Hani Samawi

Committee Member 3

Atin Adhikari

Committee Member 3 Email



Utilization of scrap automobile tires for singeing food animal carcasses at meat processing facilities in Ghana has been ongoing for over 50 years. According to the USEPA, burning scrap tires can release high levels of toxic pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), benzene, sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM), and toxic metals into the air via smoke. Exposure to these pollutants has been associated with adverse health effects such as respiratory impairment, mutagenesis, and cancer. This research focused on occupational health implications associated with scrap tire burning for meat singeing in Ghana. Levels of CO, benzene, SO2, and PMemitted from LPG (control), firewood, and tire-based smoke during meat singeing were quantified in real-time using a portable Chip Measurement System and a Dusttrak DRX Aerosol Monitor 8534. A modified version of the ATS-DLD-78 questionnaire and spirometry assessment were utilized to evaluate respiratory health of the operators. Urine samples were analyzed for 1-hydroxypyrene, a biomarker of short-term PAH exposure. Descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVA, and Tukey HSD tests were used to analyze the quantitative data. Results indicate the “tire burning-meat singeing” practice generates pollutants at levels significantly higher than LPG and firewood. These values exceed the air quality standards set by WHO and EPA for benzene, CO, PM2.5 and PM10. Results from the modified ATS-DLD-78A questionnaire showed that the most prevalent respiratory symptoms among the workers were phlegm (32.1%), wheezing (28.3%), chest illness (26.4%), breathlessness/labored breathing (26.4%), cough (26.4%), shortness of breath (22.6%), and wheezing attacks (20.8%). Other health concerns that were qualitatively reported by the workers included chest, waist, and stomach pain; frequent headaches; chronic fevers; ulcers; eye irritation; and infertility. Spirometry results were inconclusive; however, the study population reported various symptoms of respiratory impairment. There were measureable levels of urinary 1-OHP in the study population which indicate that they may be exposed to toxic levels of PAHs. These data suggest that slaughter slab operators and residents nearby these meat processing facilities may be at high risk for adverse health effects linked to these pollutants. Therefore, stakeholders should work together to address this challenge in Ghana and other African countries.

Research Data and Supplementary Material