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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

PIETRI, Diana De; DIETRICH, Patricia; MAYO, Patricia  and  CARCAGNO, Alejandro. Multicriteria evaluation of environmental risk exposure using a geographic information system in Argentina. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2011, vol.30, n.4, pp. 377-387. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892011001000012.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a spatial model that includes environmental factors posing a health hazard, for application in the Matanza-Riachuelo River Basin (MRB) in Argentina. METHODS: Multicriteria evaluation procedures were used with geographic information systems to obtain territorial zoning based on the degree of suitability for residence. Variables that characterize the habitability of housing and potential sources of basin pollution were geographically referenced. Health information was taken from the Risk Factor Survey (RFS) to measure the relative risk of living in unsuitable areas (exposed population) compared with suitable areas (unexposed population). RESULTS: Sixty percent of the MRB area is in suitable condition, a situation that affects 40% of residents. The rest of the population lives in unsuitable territory, and 6% live in the basin's most unsuitable conditions. Environmental conditions that are detrimental to health in the unsuitable areas became evident during the interviews through three of the pathologies considered: diarrheal diseases, respiratory diseases, and cancer. CONCLUSIONS: A regional analysis that provides valid information to support decisionmaking was obtained. Considering the basin as a unit of analysis allowed the use of a single protocol to undertake comprehensive measurement of the magnitude of risk and, thus, set priorities.

Keywords : Environmental exposure; risk groups; environmental health; hydrographic basins; geographic information systems.

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