Editorials

How can we determine if living close to industry harms your health?

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6952.425 (Published 13 August 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:425
  1. I Harvey

    Many industrial processes pollute the environment and expose nearby residents to the same substances as workers, although generally to much lower doses.1 Occupational epidemiology uses classic observational methods to establish the relations between occupational exposures and diseases in workers.1 Adverse health effects among residents can be predicted in this group by extrapolating beyond the lower limits of dose- response relations derived from work-force or animal studies. Such inference, however, is subject to unquantifiable uncertainties.2 Direct epidemiological evidence is important. Sometimes it is tragically unchallengeable - as in the release of methylisocyanate in Bhopal, India, which killed at least 2500 people.3 But the more subtle effects of potentially dangerous pollutants, in particular from the nuclear industry, have become the subject of intense study and controversy.*RF 4-7*

    Industries using coal have been under scrutiny since 1307, when Edward I prohibited the burning of …

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