BACKGROUND. Pollution arising from mine dumps in South Africa (SA) has been a source of concern to nearby communities.
OBJECTIVE. To investigate whether comorbidity of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases among elderly persons (≥55 years) was associated
with proximity to mine dumps.
METHODS. Elderly persons in communities 1 - 2 km (exposed) and ≥5 km (unexposed) from five preselected mine dumps in Gauteng and
North West provinces in SA were included in a cross-sectional study.
RESULTS. Exposed elderly persons had a significantly higher prevalence of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases than those who were
unexposed. Multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that living close to mine dumps was significantly associated with asthma + hypertension
(odds ratio (OR) 1.67; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.22 - 2.28), asthma + pneumonia (OR 1.86; 95% CI 1.14 - 3.04), emphysema +
arrhythmia (OR 1.38; 95% CI 1.07 - 1.77), emphysema + myocardial infarction (OR 2.01; 95% CI 1.73 - 2.54), emphysema + pneumonia
(OR 3.36; 95% CI 1.41 - 7.98), hypertension + myocardial infarction (OR 1.60; 95% CI 1.04 - 2.44) and hypertension + pneumonia (OR 1.34;
95% CI 1.05 - 1.93).
CONCLUSION. Detrimental associations between comorbidity of the health outcomes and proximity to mine dumps were observed among
the elderly in SA
We thank everybody who participated in the
questionnaire interviews, Mr Moses Kebalepile and all the fieldworkers who assisted in data collection, the data technicians for the data capturing,
and Statistics South Africa for providing the population sizes of elderly
people in each study community.