Heaney CD, Wing S, Campbell RL, Caldwell D, Hopkins B, Richardson D, Yeatts K. Relation between malodor, ambient hydrogen sulfide, and health in a community bordering a landfill. Environ Res. 2011 Aug;111(6):847-52. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2011.05.021.

BACKGROUND: Municipal solid waste landfills are sources of air pollution that may affect the health and quality of life of neighboring communities.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate health and quality of life concerns of neighbors related to landfill air pollution.

METHODS: Landfill neighbors were enrolled and kept twice-daily diaries for 14d about odor intensity, alteration of daily activities, mood states, and irritant and other physical symptoms between January and November 2009. Concurrently, hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S) air measurements were recorded every 15-min. Relationships between H(2)S, odor, and health outcomes were evaluated using conditional fixed effects regression models.

RESULTS: Twenty-three participants enrolled and completed 878 twice-daily diary entries. H(2)S measurements were recorded over a period of 80d and 1-h average H(2)S=0.22ppb (SD=0.27; range: 0-2.30ppb). Landfill odor increased 0.63 points (on 5-point Likert-type scale) for every 1ppb increase in hourly average H(2)S when the wind was blowing from the landfill towards the community (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.29, 0.91). Odor was strongly associated with reports of alteration of daily activities (odds ratio (OR)=9.0; 95% CI: 3.5, 23.5), negative mood states (OR=5.2; 95% CI: 2.8, 9.6), mucosal irritation (OR=3.7; 95% CI=2.0, 7.1) and upper respiratory symptoms (OR=3.9; 95% CI: 2.2, 7.0), but not positive mood states (OR=0.6; 95% CI: 0.2, 1.5) and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms (OR=1.0; 95% CI: 0.4, 2.6).

CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest air pollutants from a regional landfill negatively impact the health and quality of life of neighbors.

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