Impact of emissions from regional industrial complex on health of rural population

Ella Kordysh, Isabella Karakis, Tali Lahav, Yael Glazer, Ilana Belmaker, Arkady Bolotin, Hillel Vardi, Batia Sarov

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


The regional industrial complex (RIC) we report consists of 17 chemical plants and the all-country industrial toxic waste site. Environmental monitoring did not indicate exceeding of pollutants concentrations over permissible levels at the RIC. Considering possible synergistic effect of low level emissions and also complaints of odor annoyance, we conducted epidemiological study. The purpose of this work was to evaluate possible effects of RIC emissions on health indicators of the rural population exposed to the RIC for approximately 25 years.
Two study methods were used: ecological and historical prospective. The ecological research (for 1995-2000) included the entire regional rural population stratified by gender and age. The historical prospective study was based on a sample of 7 agricultural communities (ACs). As a surrogate measurement of exposure we used distance (< 20 km or > 20 km) and wind direction from RIC. Data on health indicators were collected from: emergency room and hospitalization files of the regional medical center; medical records of local clinics and individual questionnaires. Also questionnaires included information on demography, occupational and local environmental hazards and family health history. Indirect age adjustment for emergency room visits (SER) and hospitalizations (SHR), Pearson correlation, chi-square or Fisher exact test, multivariate linear and logistic regression were applied for statistical analysis.
SER for complaints of respiratory tract disorders and SHR for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases were not different statistically from expected levels in both populations of comparison by distance. Age and gender adjusted odds ratio for hospitalization probability per person due to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) did not exceed 1, by distance. The distance from RIC was not a predictor of the hospitalization duration caused by COPD. The number of hospitalization events for COPD did not correlate with monthly frequency of wind from RIC. In the historical prospective study differences between health indicators in adults from ACs were not associated with proximity to RIC. Among children (0-14) living within 20 km distance from RIC, the rate of chronic diseases of upper respiratory tract (tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, rhinitis) obtained from medical record of local clinic was significantly higher (p=0.041) than in comparison group.
The study performed at the first time in the region on possible health impairment of population living in the vicinity of RIC shows increased morbidity for upper respiratory tract among children as sensitive health indicator of exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S48-S50
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2004


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