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J Occup Environ Med. 2006 Mar;48(3):294-302.

Environmental history-taking in clinical practice: knowledge, attitudes, and practice of primary care physicians in Italy.

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Department of Hygiene, Medical School, University of Catanzaro Magna Graecia, Catanzaro, Italy.



We investigated knowledge and attitudes of the PCPs about environmental risks and behaviours in regarding environmental history taking of the patients.


This study was designed as a cross-sectional mail survey and target population were 500 PCPs practicing in Calabria (Italy). Questions of the questionnaire focused on PCPs demographics and practice characteristics, knowledge of the major environmental risk factors and related health effects, attitudes about role of environment on human health and about performing an accurate environmental exposures history.


94% of PCPs correctly indicated noise exposures as a possible cause of irreversible hearing loss and more than half indoor radon exposure for lung cancer, but only 27.8% correctly recognized all health effects related to environmental exposures. PCPs who assign an important role to the environment were significantly more likely to have knowledge of environmental risk factors related to respiratory disease. A vast majority of PCPs reported to take a patient history on occupational exposures, but less than one third of PCPs reported to provide education material about environment and public health to their patients. PCPs who ask their patients about environmental exposures were significantly more likely to consider environmental health history a helpful tool to prevent exposures to environmental threats.


Physicians are supposed to learn and then educate patients about the importance of preventing environment related diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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