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Health issues in the industrial port zone of Marseille, France: the Fos EPSEAL community-based cross-sectional survey

A Publisher Correction to this article was published on 30 January 2018

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Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is an increasingly common approach in the USA, but still relatively rare in Europe. In the industrial zone of Marseille, there is a long history of pollution, but little is known about the health implications. This study documented the prevalence of different health issues in two heavily polluted towns in the industrial zone using a CBPR approach.

Subject and methods

This study used a CBPR approach and epidemiologic methods to answer community members’ questions about the health of residents in Marseille’s industrial zone by randomly sampling a cross-section of residents to systematically document health issues in Fos-sur-Mer and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, two towns in the industrial port area of Marseille, France.


Many chronic illnesses were elevated in these communities, as compared to regional and national prevalences, including chronic skin problems, asthma, cancer, and diabetes. Chronic skin problems and asthma were among the most common chronic illnesses reported. A majority of respondents also reported acute symptoms that affected daily life, including eye irritation or nose and throat problems.


There is likely an environmental explanation for why, even after direct standardization, the prevalences of many diseases were higher in these communities than elsewhere. The combination of CBPR and rigorous epidemiologic methods helps make our findings relevant to both community members and researchers.

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Change history

  • 30 January 2018

    The journal had been advised to revise the title so that Clarivate Analytics can try to count the citations more accurately. There’s been confusion due to the existence of another journal with the same name.


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This project was financed by a grant from the Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail (ANSES), the French agency for food, environment and occupational health and safety (award no. PNREST Anses, Cancer ITMO AVIESAN, 2014/1/023). Virginia Tech University also provided some financial support. The University of California Berkeley provided Qualtrics access. IMéRA (Institute for Advanced Study of Aix-Marseille University) provided in-kind support.

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Correspondence to Alison K. Cohen.

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The authors have no competing financial interests to declare.

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The original version of this article was revised: Due to the existence of another journal with the same name, the Publisher has added a subtitle, “From Theory to Practice.” Effective as of January 2018, the new title of this Journal is Journal of Public Health: From Theory to Practice.

A correction to this article is available online at

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Cohen, A.K., Richards, T., Allen, B.L. et al. Health issues in the industrial port zone of Marseille, France: the Fos EPSEAL community-based cross-sectional survey. J Public Health 26, 235–243 (2018).

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