Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia
Print version ISSN 1415-790X
LOPES, Fábio Silva and RIBEIRO, Helena. Mapping of hospitalizations due to respiratory problems and possible associations to human exposure to burnt sugar-cane straw products in the state of São Paulo. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2006, vol.9, n.2, pp. 215-225. ISSN 1415-790X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X2006000200008.
INTRODUCTION: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are being increasingly used in public health studies, as they allow comparing data organized in tables and maps through overlapping. Overlapping provides a new way of reading data associated with the spatial dimension. GIS programs are ideal for studies in health geography. Geoprocessing is an interesting resource for generating assumptions for more in-depth studies on the theme in cause/effect ecological studies, comprising environmental variables and their deleterious effects to human health. OBJECTIVE: The present study aimed to construct a GIS to verify the possible correlation between products of sugar-cane fires and the incidence of respiratory conditions in the affected regions, by using geoprocessing techniques. METHODS: A two-scale GIS was structured from data on biomass fires and hospitalizations due to respiratory conditions in the State of São Paulo for the period from 2000 to 2004. For the first scale, theme maps were created for the entire State and interesting areas for local scale studies were identified. The second scale consisted of constructing a GIS encompassing the meso-region of Bauru, in order to verify the intersection of health hazards in biomass fire areas. RESULTS: The maps and spatial correlation analysis showed a higher incidence of respiratory conditions in regions where biomass fires are used. The resulting material produced a set of data that allowed the investigator to verify assumptions that may support environmental health studies.
Keywords : Sugar cane; Geoprocessing; GIS; Biomass fire; Environmental Health; Public Health; Air pollution; São Paulo; Medical geography.