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Gaceta Sanitaria

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ORDONEZ-IRIARTE, José M. et al. El medio ambiente y su impacto en la salud: riesgos tradicionales, nuevos riesgos. Gac Sanit [online]. 2004, vol.18, suppl.1, pp.222-233. ISSN 0213-9111.

The objective of this article is to investigate three representative elements of environmental health from a geographical perspective taking the Autonomous Community as the unit of analysis: legionnaire's disease, chemical safety and food safety. Legionnaire's disease is a pathology with a specific epidemiological profile; males, adults, and with previous chronic pathologies and habits. The official response, with regard to recent outbreaks and the increase in the incidence of legionnaire's disease, has differed between autonomous communities due to peculiarities and different organizational cultures. Both the sinking of the ship Prestige and the accident at the oil refinery at Puertollano (Ciudad Real) have increased concern in the population about chemical substances, so familiar in our environment. However it is not only the big accidents which are relevant: it is surprising to learn that most of the registered poisonings are due to domestic cleaning goods. The pending challenge from the Public Health point of view is to elaborate the Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemical Agents which, undoubtedly, will help to establish differences between type and class. Finally, the number of outbreaks of food poisoning continues to be of concern; this should lead us to think about the effectiveness of food safety programmes and to focus on the home, being place where most of the outbreaks occur. The General Sanitary Inspection of Food ought to be a good tool to help improve food safety.

Keywords : Legionnaire's disease; Chemical safety; Food safety; Autonomous community.

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