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Respiratory diseases and environmental contamination in two communities in Puerto Rico

Enrique López, MPH, MS1, Cruz Maria Nazario, PhD2, Rodolfo Vargas, MS1, Lyzbeth Cordero, MPH1, Samira Rosa, MPH1, Francisco Acevedo, MPH1, Jeannette Carreras, MPH1, Luis A Castro, MPH1, Yvonne Garcia, MPH1, Edmir Marrero, MPH1, Leida Paris, MD, MPH1, Maritza Pérez, MPH1, Manuel Rodríguez, MPH1, Yadira Rodríguez, MPH1, Ruth V Román, MPH1, Ernesto Rosa, MPH1, and Elenita Villegas, MPH1. (1) Epidemiology/Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico, PO Box 365067, San Juan, PR 00936-5067, 787 758-2525 X1-1429, el_cotto@yahoo.com, (2) Epidemiology/School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico, P.O. Box 365067, San Juan, PR 00936-5067

A cross-sectional study was designed to evaluate the prevalence of respiratory diseases in two communities in Caguas, Puerto Rico (Santa Elvira and Villas del Rey). Santa Elvira is exposed to emissions from a biological waste incinerator. A probabilistic sample of the total dwellings provided the following: a sample of 133 families in Santa Elvira, and 140 in Villas del Rey. A logistic regression model was used to evaluate the relation between the exposure to incinerator waste, and the prevalence of respiratory diseases in Santa Elvira. The analysis of health conditions by community revealed that, when compared to Villas del Rey, the residents of Santa Elvira had a greater prevalence of the following conditions: sinusitis (p=0.006), pneumonia (p=0.01), bronchitis (p=0.03), laryngitis (p=0.001) and eye allergies (p=0.003). The difference in the respiratory diseases prevalence by community was statistically significant (p=0.03). The prevalence odds ratio was 1.79 (90% CI: 1.16 - 2.77). The results of this study points out that further research on the health effect of exposures to the emissions of the industries in the area, is urgently required.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Environmental Health Hazards, Community Health Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Environmental Exposure: Morbidity and Mortality Consequences for Latino Communities

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA