MANILA – A study revealed that exposure to auto-liquefied petroleum gas (ALPG) may cause health hazards, Department of Health (DOH)-National Capital Region director Eduardo Janairo said Wednesday.
The study, conducted by the Rapid Assessment for Monitoring Exposure Risks in Conventional and Alternative Fuel Use Among the Public Transport Sector Study and the UP-National Poison Management and Control Center (UP-NPMCC), showed that health concerns raised by taxi drivers who converted their vehicles’ engine to LPG were caused by the exposure.
The study showed that among the effects of being exposed to auto-LPG include headaches, back pain, nape pain, chest pain, cough, dizziness, dry throat, fatigue and muscle weakness, nausea and difficulty in breathing.
The study also revealed that overexposure may cause unconsciousness and even death.
“We would like to set policy directions on the implementation of standards and guidelines in auto LPG-driven vehicles and determine the potential exposure and health effects among population groups exposed to these vehicles as compared to population groups exposed to conventional-driven ones,” Janairo said in a press statement.
Twenty-six ALPG and 13 conventional male drivers, aged between 18 to 45, were randomly selected from a list of drivers using ALPG-vehicles and drivers of vehicles using gasoline and diesel.
A total of 53 taxis (28 ALPG units and 25 gasoline/diesel taxis) that were included in the study were tested for butane, carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrogen sulphide (H2S) for ALPG; and total BTEX/HC content, CO, H2S and O2 level for gasoline and diesel taxis.
Based on the study’s results, the DOH has recommended the revision of the health program for drivers and strict air quality testing.
DOH also recommends the monitoring of ventilation and chemical contaminants in vehicles, which can be done by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
Vehicle owners and drivers of both ALPG and conventional vehicles are also urged to observe a maintenance schedule prior to car registration.
Taxi drivers, meanwhile, should have work schedules that consider the need for breaks and rest periods.
“It is also important that installations should only be done by an ALPG approved Department of Trade and Industry installer to ensure that the setup is correctly done and a list of legitimate, accredited and certified service providers should be disseminated to the transport sector in order to avoid fly-by-night operators in proliferating the market,” said Janairo.
“Only by introducing regulations and standards to ensure the safe use of ALPG can we ensure the health and safety not only of drivers but also passengers as well,” he added.