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Can J Public Health. 2014 Nov 21;105(6):e438-44.

Differential environmental exposure among non-Indigenous Canadians as a function of sex/gender and race/ethnicity variables: a scoping review.

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University of Toronto.



To determine the extent, range and types of studies of differential environmental chemical exposures among non-Indigenous Canadians as a function of sex/gender and race/ethnicity.


Computerized database searches were performed from November to December 2013 using Medline, Embase, CAB Abstracts, Proquest and Scopus to identify relevant studies of environmental exposures among non-Indigenous adults aged ≥18 years in Canada published between 1993 and 2013. Articles were identified for full-text review based on a screening of titles and abstracts and were excluded during this initial review if they focused on environmental exposures in the following populations: 1) Indigenous populations, 2) individuals <15 years of age, 3) pregnant women and associated negative birth outcomes, or 4) non-Canadian populations. Articles were also excluded if the primary focus was on exposures to environmental tobacco smoke, non-chemical occupational hazards, infectious diseases, noise and/or radiation. A full-text review of 78 identified articles systematically assessed how sex/gender and race/ethnicity were considered.


Although 59% of studies stratified results by sex, less than half of these offered any explanation of differential exposures. Eighteen of the 78 studies (23%) used terms related to race/ethnicity in their participant descriptions. Of the studies that conducted subgroup analyses of exposure results by race/ethnicity (n=15), a total of 8 also included subgroup analysis by sex. Overall, 3 of the 78 (3%) articles reviewed analyzed environmental exposures as a function of sex/gender and race/ethnicity.


The role of sex/gender and race/ethnicity in influencing environmental exposure levels among non-Indigenous Canadians has not been adequately addressed to date.


Environmental health; minority health; women

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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