Geospatial Data From a Toxics Use Reduction Program for Environmental and Public Health Research: Using Data Sets From Self-Reported Industry

Abstract

Studying trends in exposures to industrial carcinogens, and looking for ways to reduce these exposures, is one way of preventing a significant number of work-related cancers from being diagnosed in the future. Toxics Use Reduction policies can play a valuable role among other environmental reporting and monitoring programs in reducing the cancer burden by providing data on the use of cancer-causing chemicals inside industrial facilities. The data these programs provide on chemical use can indicate potential occupational exposures that workers inside these facilities may be exposed to. This case study explains the utility of leveraging data sets of this type, through a secondary data analysis, by focusing specifically on the researcher’s experiences analyzing Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Act data. This case study also explores how geographic approaches to analyzing this type of data can advance broader public health goals and benefit health care system planning. In addition, the challenges associated with the data sets and the geospatial analysis techniques are discussed.

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