How bad is EDSA for your health? UP researchers are studying MMDA enforcers to find out

Car accidents aren’t the only danger out there
by Drei Laurel | Jul 20, 2022
PHOTO: Shutterstock

When the topic of road hazards is brought up, the first thing that comes to mind is usually car accidents. There are many other reasons, though, why exposing yourself to our country’s road system can be bad for your physical wellbeing.

Researchers from the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) are conducting studies to determine how hazardous being exposed to the country’s road system can be to one’s health.

One study, which now has the support of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), aims to find the association between chronic traffic exposure and hearing loss.

This research will be led by Dr. Kim Ong of the UP-NIH, and will be assisted by the MMDA Medical Clinic’s Dr. Annabelle Ombina. MMDA field personnel will also be taking part in the study.

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“It must be noted that MMDA traffic enforcers, classified as civilian uniformed personnel, are exposed to health hazards while performing their duties,” MMDA officer-in-charge Baltazar Melgar said regarding the agency’s partnership with UP-NIH.

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“The screening process is expected to be done in the second week of August. Based on the criteria set by the UP-NIH, traffic enforcers must have a five-year field exposure experience, regardless of their employment status,” the official added.

A separate study conducted by UP-NIH’s Emmanuel Baja, meanwhile, found that black carbon and heavy metals found in major Metro Manila thoroughfares have a negative impact on the blood pressure and lung function of exposed traffic enforcers.

“The study likewise showed that the lead found in enforcers' blood could imply systemic inflammation and may also be linked to heart damage,” the MMDA said in a statement.

This is truly some eye-opening stuff. Perhaps masks should be the norm for commuters even after the COVID-19 pandemic passes. What do you think?

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