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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10400.18/608

Title: Design and implementation of an epidemiological study for the characterization of potential pathway human exposure in a contaminated estuary environment
Authors: Dias, Carlos Matias
Machado, Ausenda
Paixão, Eleonora
Mateus, Inês
Joaquin, Toro
Caeiro, Sandra
Keywords: Determinantes da Saúde e da Doença
Estados de Saúde e de Doença
Environmental Health
Contaminated Estuary
Epidemiological Study
Issue Date: Oct-2011
Publisher: Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge, IP
Abstract: Introduction Sado River estuary is located in the west coast of Portugal. Previous environmental studies identified industrial contamination, non-point anthropogenic sources and contamination coming from the river, all promoting accumulation of polluted sediments with known impacts on the ecological system. Surrounding human populations have intense economic fishery activities. Together with agriculture, estuary fishing products are available to local residents. Food usage previously characterized through ethnographic studies suggests exposure to estuarine products, farming products, and water in daily activities, as potential routes of contamination. Few epidemiologic studies have been conducted to study associations of environmental contamination and health effects in Portugal. No epidemiological study has been identified in this particular geographical area. Objectives HERA project (Environmental Risk Assessment of a contaminated estuarine environment) is financed by the National Science Foundation (FCT- PTDC/SAU-ESA/100107/2008) and includes an epidemiological study aiming to characterize exposure pathways to estuarine products and its potential health effects. Materials and Method A cross-sectional comparative study of residents in Carrasqueira, a small riverside village in the south channel of the Sado Estuary, and residents in a second different population (Vila Nova de Mil Fontes-VNMF) 200 Km off Carrasqueira, selected as the non-exposed population. VNMF sits near another river estuary with similar fishing and agricultural activities but no known industrial or other contamination exposures. Simple random samples of 100 persons were selected in each study population from the National Health Service Lists. Questionnaire data collected at home (31 questions) intends to characterize: 1)Health effects: morbidity (diagnosed illnesses, medication), use of health services, reproductive history (pregnancies, abortions, congenital anomalies); 2) potential routes of exposure: socio-demographic, occupational (fishing and farming related occupations), leisure habits and hobbies (including recreational fishing), lifestyles (tobacco, alcohol); 3) Potential routes of human contamination from the estuary (including use of water, subsistence fishing and farming). Initial interviews with local residents and previous knowledge of the population’s habits elicited qualitative data about exposure characteristics used for questionnaire development. Questionnaires were applied at home by trained interviewers by face to face interviews of selected individuals (June and July 2011) using computed assisted personal interview (CAPI). All participants were included after a written informed consent. Results Participation rates were 62.5% in Carrasqueira and 48.3% in VNMF. Mean interview time is 50 minutes. Of selected Carrasqueira participants 58,3% were male (population=55,3%) and 60% were 20-59 in age. In VNMF, 44,2% were male (population=48,4%) the majority in the 20-59 age group (58,3%). Conclusions Planning and implementation of epidemiological studies on exposure, contamination routes and health effects of estuarine pollution should involve local Public Health professionals since early stages of planning and study design. Data collection and field work had no major drawbacks with a good response rate in the exposed population but lower in the comparison population. The summer time may explain lower than expected response rates especially in the comparison population.
Peer Reviewed: yes
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10400.18/608
Appears in Collections:DEP - Posters/abstracts em congressos internacionais

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