Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
DE PIETRI, Diana Elba; GARCIA, Susana and RICO, Osvaldo. Geospatial models for local health surveillance. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2008, vol.23, n.6, pp. 394-402. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892008000600004.
OBJECTIVES: To produce a geospatial model to evaluate lead exposure among school children from 6-8 years of age, in San Antonio Oeste, Rio Negro province, Argentina, an area contaminated by a foundry in the city center whose toxins were released into the open air. METHODS: The spatial analysis conducted from October-April 2006 included satellite interpretation and mapping of the data to geographically plot the information. Residences on dirt roads were included, as was the distance for each of the study childrens homes and/or schools to the site identified as the source of the exposure. RESULTS: Blood samples taken from children attending schools within the area surrounding the source showed higher lead levels than that of children in other areas. These lead levels were associated with the proximity to the source and/or with living on a dirt road. The highest blood lead levels corresponded to the higher environmental lead levels. CONCLUSIONS: Spatial analysis was shown to be a useful tool for site analysis and risk management since it indicated a definitive association between elevated lead levels and the proximity to the source, and/or residing on a dirt road, connections which had not been revealed with traditional epidemiological analyses. The results provided the scientific evidence needed to begin implementing interventions regarding the sources of exposure and education aimed at promoting more hygienic dietary habits among the population.
Keywords : Geographic Information Systems; environmental exposure; blood; lead; child welfare; Argentina.