Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
04 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Prof Cathryn Tonne
Air pollution not only costs lives, it costs money too. Pictured is Prof Cathryn Tonne presenting a guest lecture on air pollution at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Health effects associated with ambient air pollution (AAP) have been well documented. Subsequently, the relationship between pollution and financial outcomes have also become a focus for case studies globally. An Environmental Research journal article revealed that “low and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected by the global burden of adverse health effects caused by AAP”. 

A high price to pay

In 2012, high concentrations of air pollution caused 7.4% of all deaths, costing South Africa up to 6% of its Gross Domestic Product. According to the recent International Growth Centre study conducted by senior University of Cape Town researchers, this is a direct consequence of the country’s heavy dependence of fossil fuels, a source of health-damaging air pollution and greenhouse pollutants.

Stunted human and economic growth

These South African statistics are attested to by Prof Cathryn Tonne who recently presented a guest lecture on air pollution which was hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) Business School.

“Air pollution can affect economic development through several pathways, and health is an important one. Air pollution is linked to shorter life expectancy, chronic disease, asthma exacerbation and many other health outcomes that result in absenteeism from work and school. These have large direct costs to the health system.” 

Prof Tonne says that air pollution exposure in children is linked to reduced cognitive development, with important impacts on human capital. As a result, children are not reaching their full potential in terms of neurodevelopment, which has an effect on their income prospects and the economy as a whole. 

Resolving a looming disaster

Technology may be employed to radically clean the air. Cities need to lead in the reduction of air pollution by promoting renewable energy, using active transport such as walking or cycling, and investing in infrastructure to make this safe and attractive. 

With researchers playing a major role in strengthening the case for aggressive air pollution control, the government needs to implement policies in order to control sources of air pollution. This global health and economic issue also requires individuals and communities to play their part to improve air quality.

News Archive

Blood tests for players at FIFA Confederations Cup
2009-03-21

Football stars coming to South Africa to play in the FIFA Confederations Cup tournament in June will not only have their urine tested for illegal substances but their blood as well.

This will be the first time that blood samples from sportsmen or women will be tested in South Africa.

“Blood testing is a new regulation from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and will be implemented in our laboratory for the FIFA Confederations Cup in June,” according to Dr Pieter van der Merwe, Head of the SA Doping Control Laboratory at the University of the Free State (UFS), the only testing facility of its kind in Southern Africa.

Although urine will still be tested, blood tests have become compulsory, because the substances used by sports men and women are becoming more sophisticated.

“Some substances, such as the growth hormone, can more easily be detected in blood. It is more difficult to determine these kinds of substances in urine,” explained Dr Van der Merwe.

“We were contracted by the International Rugby Board (IRB) to conduct the testing for the 7’s World Cup Rugby Tournament that was recently held in Dubai and by FIFA to do the testing for the Confederations Cup this year as well as the 2010 World Cup. This demonstrates the confidence of International Sport Federations in the quality and standard of work produced by this facility at the UFS,” he said.

The results of all tests done for the national programme in South Africa are sent to the Institute for Drug Free Sport based in Cape Town from where it is reported to the various sports federations. However, the rugby and soccer results are reported directly to the IRB and FIFA respectively.

The move to incorporate blood tests in the testing process has resulted in the expansion of the facility’s infrastructure.

“A new extension will be built for us in the near future in order for us to accommodate the conducting of urine and blood testing,” says Dr van der Merwe.

Media Release
Issued by: Anton Fisher
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2749
Cell: 072 207 8334
E-mail: fishera.stg@ufs.ac.za  
20 March 2009

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept