Environnement, Risques & Santé


Zone studies in France: overview and perspective for establishing epidemiological surveillance around industrial zones Volume 22, issue 1, January-February 2023

Santé Publique France Direction santé environnement travail 12, rue du Val d’Osne 94410 Saint-Maurice France <solène.gillette@laposte.net> <cecile.kairo@santepubliquefrance.fr> <candice.roudier@santepubliquefrance.fr>
* Tirés à part : C. Kairo

In France, industrial zones characterised by numerous and varied industrial activities and related infrastructures (road traffic, urban heating, agriculture, etc.) lead to multiple situations of exposure to risk, raising concerns from communities as to the impact on their health.

Zone studies began some forty years ago, with a view to better understanding the accumulation of emissions within an industrial zone, and to reflect upon the local population’s exposure to these emissions, and with the objective of producing practical management solutions for the populations living there.

Santé Publique France published an overview of the zone studies available in order to identify elements which could be useful to its consideration of implementing epidemiological surveillance around industrial basins.

Over all the zone studies analysed, the most frequently found pollutants of concern were 1,3-butadiene, benzene and arsenic.

The available toxicological data, particularly that on the critical effects of pollutants of concern, focussed mainly on the respiratory system and the upper airways, as well as the hepatic and haemotopoitic systems.

The results of these studies suggest that industries alone are not responsible for risks and that certain related activities necessary to the life of the region, including road traffic, also contribute to the population’s exposure.

The approach followed enables an inventory of pollutant sources to be established for each zone, which is not always currently possible, even using existing environmental databases. A potential health risk may then be evaluated for a local population, within the limits of uncertainties and the available data taken into account.

In the context of epidemiological surveillance, zone studies thus make it possible to have concrete information concerning the nature of the exposure and help to identify specific health indicators in relation to the industrial activities present on the site.