Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 105, Issue 6, pp e438–e444 | Cite as

Differential environmental exposure among non-Indigenous Canadians as a function of sex/gender and race/ethnicity variables: A scoping review

  • Dolon ChakravarttyEmail author
  • Clare L. S. Wiseman
  • Donald C. Cole
Systematic Review



To determine the extent, range and types of studies of differential environmental chemical exposures among non-Indigenous Canadians as a function of sex/gender and race/ethnicity.


Computerized database searches were performed from November to December 201 3 using Medline, Embase, CAB Abstracts, Proquest and Scopus to identify relevant studies of environmental exposures among non-Indigenous adults aged >-18 years in Canada published between 1993 and 201 3. Articles were identified for full-text review based on a screening of titles and abstracts and were excluded during this initial review if they focused on environmental exposures in the following populations: 1) Indigenous populations, 2) individuals <15 years of age, 3) pregnant women and associated negative birth outcomes, or 4) non-Canadian populations. Articles were also excluded if the primary focus was on exposures to environmental tobacco smoke, non-chemical occupational hazards, infectious diseases, noise and/or radiation. A full-text review of 78 identified articles systematically assessed how sex/gender and race/ethnicity were considered.


Although 59% of studies stratified results by sex, less than half of these offered any explanation of differential exposures. Eighteen of the 78 studies (23%) used terms related to race/ethnicity in their participant descriptions. Of the studies that conducted subgroup analyses of exposure results by race/ethnicity (n=15), a total of 8 also included subgroup analysis by sex. Overall, 3 of the 78 (3%) articles reviewed analyzed environmental exposures as a function of sex/gender and race/ethnicity.


The role of sex/gender and race/ethnicity in influencing environmental exposure levels among non-Indigenous Canadians has not been adequately addressed to date.

Key Words

Environmental health women minority health 



Déterminer le nombre, la portée et les types d’études sur l’exposition différentielle aux produits chimiques dans l’environnement dans la population canadienne non indigène en fonction du sexe/du genre et de la race/de l’ethnicité.


Des recherches informatisées ont été effectuées de novembre à décembre 201 3 dans les bases de données Medline, Embase, CAB Abstracts, Proquest et Scopus pour repérer les études pertinentes sur l’exposition environnementale des adultes non indigènes de >-18 ans au Canada publiées entre 1993 et 201 3. Les articles à examiner en version intégrale ont été choisis par filtrage des titres et des résumés; durant cet examen initial, on a exclu les articles portant sur l’exposition environnementale dans les populations suivantes: 1) populations indigènes, 2) personnes <15 ans, 3) femmes enceintes et issues négatives de la grossesse associées ou 4) populations non canadiennes. Nous avons aussi exclu les articles dont le thème principal était l’exposition à la fumée secondaire du tabac, aux dangers professionnels non chimiques, aux maladies infectieuses, au bruit et/ou aux rayonnements. Un examen du texte intégral de 78 articles recensés a systématiquement évalué si le sexe/le genre et la race/l’ethnicité y étaient pris en compte.


Bien que 59 % des études aient stratifié leurs résultats selon le sexe, moins de la moitié de ces études proposaient des explications des écarts dans les niveaux d’exposition. Dix-huit des 78 études (23 %) employaient des termes liés à la race/l’ethnicité dans leurs descriptions des participants. Sur les études ayant effectué des analyses de l’exposition par sous-groupe racial/ethnique (n=15), 8 incluaient aussi une analyse selon le sexe. Globalement, 3 des 78 articles examinés (3 %) analysaient l’exposition environnementale en fonction du sexe/du genre et de la race/de l’ethnicité.


L’influence du sexe/du genre et de la race/de l’ethnicité sur les niveaux d’exposition environnementale dans la population canadienne non indigène n’a pas été convenablement abordée jusqu’à maintenant.

Mots Clés

santé environnementale femmes santé des minorités 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dolon Chakravartty
    • 1
    Email author
  • Clare L. S. Wiseman
    • 2
  • Donald C. Cole
    • 1
  1. 1.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.School of the EnvironmentUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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