Impacts of Earthquake Aftermath on Indoor Carbon Monoxide Levels in Turkish Coffeehouses Environment in Duzce, Turkey

Article excerpt

Abstract

Background: In 1999, Duzce suffered two consecutive devastating earthquakes above magnitude 7 in August and November. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the indoor air quality of coffeehouses by determining carbon monoxide (CO) levels and their contributing factors in coffeehouses built before and after the earthquake.

Methods: We conducted our study in 76 Turkish coffeehouses in Duzce in winter (November 2007-March 2008) during rush hours (18:00-23:00). The Turkish coffeehouses included in the study were evaluated under four categories based on smoking status and construction date. The characteristics of the coffeehouses, such as their CO levels and temperatures both indoors and outdoors, were all measured. These analyses were carried out with the SPSS 15.0 program.

Results: The CO levels in Turkish coffeehouses were above the values indicated as being safe by the WHO. While stoves and cooking equipment were determined to contribute to indoor CO levels, cigarettes were found to be the main source. Indoor CO levels at second hour were very strongly correlated (r: 0.84, P<0.001) (r: 0.91, P<0.001) with indoor CO levels at initial and first hour as well as with smoking status (r: 0.69, P<0.001); they were also moderately correlated with the room volume (r: 0.34, P<0.001) and construction materials (r: 0.31, P<0.001) of the coffeehouse.

Conclusion: Elevated CO levels in Turkish coffeehouses indicate the possible presence of other pollutants, particularly when the main source is smoking. In such cases, both individuals and the whole of society are affected negatively in many ways. Therefore, smoking should be prohibited by law in Turkish coffeehouses and national awareness programs should be developed based on peoples' lifestyles. Moreover, the standards for construction and management of Turkish coffeehouses should be improved as well.

Keywords: Turkish coffeehouse, Earthquake, Carbon Monoxide, Smoking

Introduction

Duzce experienced two consecutive devastating earthquakes above magnitude 7 in August and November of 1999. Both earthquakes collapsed or damaged most of the houses, offices, stores, Turkish coffeehouses, and industrial facilities in the city. Reconstruction of the buildings in the aftermath of the earthquake was conducted with new construction materials. During the reconstruction process, attention was paid to heat, sound, and air insulation, and for this purpose, materials uncommon to the region such as plastic panel doors and windows were used. Thus, the insulation of indoor air from outdoors was improved. In Duzce, buildings constructed with old building materials had wooden doors and windows and inadequate heat, sound, and air insulation, whereas in some buildings air circulation was achieved through spaces left for air flow under the doors and above the windows. Therefore, Duzce offers the opportunity to examine both old buildings built with old construction materials and new buildings built with new construction materials.

Turkish coffeehouses (Kahvehane in Turkish), also found in other Middle Eastern countries, differ from their Western counterparts. They are points of social gathering for men above age 18 where smoking is allowed. In other words, Turkish coffeehouses are venues where men come together and interact with each other socially, economically, and culturally. In winter, the periods of time spent in Turkish coffeehouses are longer, especially during the evenings. In Duzce, Turkish coffeehouses have an attendance capacity of 10-100 people and comprise an indoor area (and sometimes a garden as well) that is either part of a larger building or a detached; they can be managed only by legal permission.

Duzce is a province situated on a wide and forestful geographical area in the northwestern part of Turkey in the Black Sea region. Among its wide area it has a small population. As it is localized on the water supplies of Istanbul (biggest city of Turkey) industrialization in Duzce is strictly limited and controlled. …