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Rev Bras Epidemiol. 2013 Jun;16(2):231-9. doi: 10.1590/S1415-790X2013000200001.

Characterization of population exposure to organochlorines: a cluster analysis application.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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  • 1Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Estudos em Saúde Coletiva, Rio de JaneiroRJ.


This study aimed to show the results from a cluster analysis application in the characterization of population exposure to organochlorines through variables related to time and exposure dose. Characteristics of 354 subjects in a population exposed to organochlorine pesticides residues related to time and exposure dose were subjected to cluster analysis to separate them into subgroups. We performed hierarchical cluster analysis. To evaluate the classification accuracy, compared to intra-group and inter-group variability by ANOVA for each dimension. The aggregation strategy was accomplished by the method of Ward. It was, for the creation of clusters, variables associated with exposure and routes of contamination. The information on the estimated intake doses of compound were used to weight the values of exposure time at each of the routes, so as to obtain values proxy exposure intensity. The results showed three clusters: cluster 1 (n = 45), characteristics of greatest exposure, the cluster 2 (n = 103), intermediate exposure, and cluster 3 (n = 206), less exposure. The bivariate analyzes performed with groups that are groups showed a statistically significant difference. This study demonstrated the applicability of cluster analysis to categorize populations exposed to organochlorines and also points to the relevance of typological studies that may contribute to a better classification of subjects exposed to chemical agents, which is typical of environmental epidemiology studies to a wider understanding of etiological, preventive and therapeutic contamination.

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