Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) of Residents with Persistent Lower Respiratory Symptoms or Asthma Following a Sulphur Stockpile Fire Incident

Journal Article


Journal Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Journal ISSN
Volume Title

Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Background: This study evaluated health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in residents with persistent lower respiratory symptoms (PLRS) or asthma six years after exposure to sulphur dioxide vapours emanating from an ignited sulphur stockpile. Methods:A cross-sectional study was carried out, using interview data collected at three time points (prior to, one- and six-years post incident), medical history, respiratory symptoms and HRQOL using the Medical Outcomes Study Form 36 (SF-36). Results: A total of 246 records, 74 with and 172 without PLRS or asthma, were analysed. The mean age was 42 (SD:12) years in the symptomatic group and 41 (SD:13) years in the asymptomatic group. Mean SF-36 scores were significantly lower for the symptomatic group in the Physical Functioning (24 vs. 39), Role—Physical (33 vs. 48) and General Health (GH) domains (24 vs. 37). Symptomatic residents experienced a significant decline in their Role—Physical (OR = 1.97; CI 1.09, 3.55) and GH (OR = 3.50; CI 1.39, 8.79) at year 6 compared to asymptomatic participants. Residents with co-morbid reactive upper airways dysfunction syndrome demonstrated stronger associations for GH (OR = 7.04; CI 1.61, 30.7) at year 1 and at year 6 (OR = 8.58; CI 1.10, 65.02). Conclusions:This study highlights the long-term adverse impact on HRQoL among residents with PLRS or asthma following a sulphur stockpile fire disaster.