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Community Health Profile of Windsor, Ontario, Canada: Anatomy of a Great Lakes Area of Concern

Michael Gilbertson and James Brophy
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 109, Supplement 6 (Dec., 2001), pp. 827-843
DOI: 10.2307/3454645
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3454645
Page Count: 17
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Community Health Profile of Windsor, Ontario, Canada: Anatomy of a Great Lakes Area of Concern
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Abstract

The rates of mortality, morbidity as hospitalizations, and congenital anomalies in the Windsor Area of Concern ranked among the highest of the 17 Areas of Concern on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes for selected end points that might be related to pollution in this relatively highly industrialized city. Mortality and morbidity rates from all causes were higher than in the rest of the province. Anomalously high rates of diseases included various cancers; endocrine, nutritional, metabolic, and immunity disorders; diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs, nervous system and sense organs, circulatory and respiratory systems, digestive system, genitourinary system, skin and subcutaneous tissue, musculoskeletal system and connective tissues; congenital anomalies, and infant mortality. Of particular concern was the early onset of the elevated rates of many of these diseases and conditions. Comparison of these incident rates with those in Hamilton, another industrial municipality in southern Ontario, suggested that in addition to a variety of local sources of industrial pollution from automobile manufacturing and use, transboundary air and water pollution from Detroit, Michigan, should be investigated as potentially important causes of these health outcomes in the Windsor Area of Concern. Some of the institutional and political trends of the past decade may need to be reversed before effective remedial programs are implemented for cleaning up contaminated sediments and for containment of leaking hazardous waste sites. This pilot project would seem to be a useful preliminary method of integrating human health concerns and of priority setting for the administration of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement.

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