Clinical conditions associated with environmental exposures: an epidemiologic study in two communities in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico

William A. Calo, Rafael Quintana, Ivan Catoni, Yarí Valle, Julio J. Álvarez, Wanda M. Colón, Marla S. Delgado, Mayra Estrella, Aida L. González, María Kallis, Vivienne M. Marrero, Lehida Meléndez, Aisha I. Miranda, Karen Nieves, Lydiette Osorio, José M. Rodríguez, Azalia Torres, Erick Suárez, Ana P. Ortiz


Background: A population-based cross-sectional design was used to compare the prevalence of several respiratory and general symptoms, respiratory and heart diseases in two communities of Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico: Guayabal, exposed to particulate matter from quarries and diesel exhaust; and Río Cañas Abajo, which has no such exposure. Methods: A probabilistic sampling design was used to obtain a representative sample of households and 288 residents of the selected households were interviewed. Adjusted PORs were estimated to assess the relationship between diseases/symptoms and place of residence using logistic regression models. To estimate the parameters of this model, a multilevel approach was used in order to control for potential correlation among residents of the same block. Results: A higher prevalence of general and respiratory symptoms and of respiratory diseases was observed for residents of Guayabal when compared to Río Cañas Abajo (p < 0.05). Residents of Guayabal were more likely to have bronchitis (est. POR=5.47; p-value < 0.05), nasal allergies (ext. POR= 4.15; p-value=0.01), nose congestion (est. POR=2.93; p-value=0.02) and nausea/vomit (est. POR=8.67; p-value < 0.01). Conclusions: This study provides statistical evidence for the development of an analytical study that determines the effect of the operation of quarries in the community of Guayabal, Puerto Rico. In addition, this study confirmed the health concerns of the community of Guayabal, regarding their exposure to the quarries.


environmental exposures, quarries, diesel exhaust, respiratory symptoms and diseases, heart diseases

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