Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 1413-8123
BARCELLOS, Christovam and MACHADO, Jorge M. Huet. Environment and health relationships are conditioned by the spatial organization: the case of mercury exposure in a fluorescent lamp plant. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 1998, vol.3, n.2, pp.103-113. ISSN 1413-8123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81231998000200010.
Space has been used for the analyses relating environment and health, as simple geometric plan for the display of epidemiological data, as a proxy for the differentiation of social conditions, or as a circumstance of spatial factors inducing risk. In this work, the three main spatial approaches of health are described, as well as their theoretical limitations. The use geoprocessing in health has been facilitated due to the wide access to epidemiological data bases and the availability of computerized cartographic and statistical tools. However, the use of these tools presupposes models for the explanation of the health/disease process, that are based on a set of spatial variables such as distance, neighborhood, and the linkage of data for characterization of the place. The example of a factory of fluorescent lamps allows to understand the space as mediator of social relations. The location and activity in the factory impose the risk conditions to which the workers are submitted. The spatial analysis of mercury emission, contamination and exposure indicators, identified areas and activities that produce risk conditions to workers. These factors are also related to intern and external production organization.
Keywords : Environmental Epidemiology; Spatial Analysis; Mercury Exposure.