Print version ISSN 0120-4157
Introduction. This study evaluated the impact of the presence of a dump on respiratory health in adults older than 50 years of age, living in its area of influence. Materials and methods. A cohort study was conducted with 313 adults older than 50 years of age living near the Navarro Dump (Cali, Colombia) and compared with 359 adults in an unexposed area. Each was examined monthly during a 6 month period to compare the incidence of respiratory symptoms and alterations in peak expiratory flow. Results. Exposure to the Navarro Dump was associated with occurrence of respiratory symptoms (odds ratio=1.25, 95% C.I. 1.01-1.56), in particular with mild respiratory symptoms (odds ratio=1.28, 95% C.I. 0.98-1.66). This result was obtained after adjusting for age, sex, education level, humidity, health insurance, comorbidity, smoking and previous occupational exposure. A higher recurrence of symptoms was found in adults in the area of exposure (correlation coefficient=0.29, 95% C.I. 0.23-0.33, p<0.001) and a significant reduction in the lung function defined by peak expiratory flow; the average decrease was15.2 L/min (95% C.I. -30.2 to +0.22). Conclusion. Independent of potential confounding factors, the respiratory health of adults exposed to the Navarro Dump was affected and exhibited an increased occurrence and recurrence of mild respiratory symptoms as well as decreased lung function.
Keywords : Refuse disposal; environmental pollution; open dumps; respiratory system; aged.