Indoor Air Quality Monitoring of Communities Surrounding a Coal-Fired Power Plant in Pagbilao, Quezon

Romeo R. Quizon,1 Elma B. Torres,2 Tisha Ysabel Torres-Briola3 and
Marian Fe Theresa C. Lomboy1

1Department of Environmental and Occupational Health,
College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila
2Health, Safety, and Environmental Management Consultancy Services, Inc.
3University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital

Objectives. The study evaluated the quality of indoor air in households surrounding a coal-fired power plant in Pagbilao, Quezon and its impact to the residents in these communities.

Methods. The researchers used a quantitative approach and gathered both primary and secondary data from the Province of Quezon, Municipalities of Pagbilao and Padre Burgos and 12 other barangays from January to June 2008. A household survey was conducted to obtain the health and socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents. Likewise, indoor air quality surveys, respiratory health profiling and pulmonary function tests were done. Indoor air quality monitoring measured eight hour levels of particulate matter-10 (Pm10) in "near" and "far" barangays and sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in two primary impact barangays as indicated in the environmental impact assesement of the power plant.

Results and Conclusion. Results showed that there is no significant difference (p = <0.05) in the eight-hour average of indoor PM10 in "near" and "far" barangays. The monitoring results for SO2 and NO2 are below the ambient air quality standards. The results of respiratory profiling and pulmonary function testing reveled that the significant risk factors for respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function parameters are generally demographic characteristics such as sex, height and weight. However, cigarette smoking and indoor PM10 levels, which came out as significant risk factors for wheezing and the predicted forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1), respectively, reflect the environmental exposure of children inside their homes.

Key Words: indoor air quality, environment illnesses, tobacco smoke pollution, respiratory diseases