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P R Health Sci J. 2009 Jun;28(2):126-34.

Clinical conditions associated with environmental exposures: an epidemiologic study in two communities in Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico.

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  • 1University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, Graduate School of Public Health, Biostatistics and Epidemiology Department, San Juan, PR 00936-5067.



A population-based cross-sectional design was used to compare the prevalence of respiratory and general symptoms and of respiratory and heart diseases in two communities of Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico: Guayabal, exposed to particulate matter from quarries and diesel exhaust; and Río Cañas Abajo, which has no such exposure.


A probabilistic sampling design was used to obtain a representative sample of households and 288 residents of the selected households were interviewed. Adjusted PORs were estimated to assess the relationship between diseases/symptoms and place of residence using logistic regression models. To estimate the parameters of this model, a multilevel approach was used in order to control for potential correlation among residents of the same block.


A higher prevalence of general and respiratory symptoms and of respiratory diseases was observed for residents of Guayabal when compared to Río Cañas Abajo (p < 0.05). Residents of Guayabal were more likely to have bronchitis (adjusted POR = 5.5; p-value < 0.05), nasal allergies (adjusted POR = 4.2; p-value = 0.01), nasal congestion (adjusted POR = 2.9; p-value = 0.02), and nausea and vomiting (adjusted POR = 8.7; p-value < 0.01).


The perception of the community of Guayabal of a higher prevalence of symptoms and health conditions was supported by the present findings. This study provides statistical evidence for the design of an analytical epidemiologic study aimed at evaluating the potential effect of quarrying on adverse health outcomes in the community of Guayabal.

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