Santé publique France
12, rue du Val d’Osne
94415 Saint-Maurice Cedex
Agence régionale de santé Occitanie
26-28 Parc-club du Millénaire
1025, rue Henri Becquerel
Inserm - U587
25, rue du Docteur Roux
75724 Paris Cedex 15
The local community living near a chemical industrial site in France reported a variety of complaints to health officials. In response, an epidemiological study on perceived health indicators was conducted to compare the perceived health of the local population with that of the reference values in the general population nationwide.
The cross-sectional study was conducted by telephone interviews with a random sample of adults living near the industrial site (n=1495; 52.6% of the sample participated). Perceived health indicators were measured by MOS SF-36 and SCL-90-R (anxiety). Data from the latest ten-year health survey conducted by Insee in 2003 and the Health, Healthcare and Insurance Survey (ESPS) conducted by Irdes in 2008 were used for comparison, after adjustment for age and gender.
According to the Insee data, the study population was in better perceived health than the national population, regardless of their SF-36 (p<0.001). For the mental health dimension (MH) of SF-36, the comparison with the Irdes data confirmed this finding. These results suggest there were significant effects of regional disparities associated with socioeconomic inequalities, which were more likely to influence perceived health than proximity to the industrial site. The two instruments, some of whose psychometric properties were tested in this study, confirm their ability to measure perceived health in people living near a polluted site. However, robust comparisons of perceived health between local populations and the national population require more recent and reliable national data about perceived health and the sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors (to control for them).