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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 144-151

Effects of occupational heat exposure on traffic police workers in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

1 Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA
2 Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India
3 Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Washington, USA

Correspondence Address:
Priya Dutta
NH-147, Palaj Gam, Opp. Air Force Head Quarters, Gandhinagar - 382042, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_125_18

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One of the most concerning environmental effects of climate change is rising levels of extreme heat, which already poses serious risks in many parts of the world. In June and July 2015, we collected weekly heat exposure data using area and personal temperature monitoring in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The study was conducted at four different traffic junctions with a cohort of 16 traffic police. For information on health effects, we administered a baseline survey at the start of the study and prospectively followed up with the officers on prevalence of heat-related symptoms. Wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) levels ranged from 28.2°C to 36.1°C during the study period. Traffic police workers who participated in this study were exposed to WBGT levels higher than the recommended threshold limit value as per American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists guidelines even beyond the hottest months of the season. Our findings suggest that airport measurements by the Indian Meteorological Department may not accurately capture heat exposures among individuals who work in and alongside high-density traffic junctions. Based on our temperature estimates, traffic police are at risk for heat stress. India is likely to experience warmer temperatures and increased heat waves in the coming decades, fueled by climate change. Therefore, it is important to reduce current and future heat-related risks for traffic police workers and similar occupational risk groups by establishing protection strategies. The protocol established in this study for occupational heat exposure assessment could be applied to a larger cohort.


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