Cameroon signed in 2001 and ratified in 2005, the Stockholm convention which aimed at restricting and eliminating the production, utilization and discharge of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Since then, the implementation of this convention in countries is not effective despite the perceptive diffusion of this toxic chemical substance. Few studies on the diffusion of POPs and risks attached to it have been carried out in Yaoundé. Thus, the aim of this study was to search the measures to limit sanitary and environmental impact which might result from the diffusion of these POPs in Yaoundé VII sub-division. This descriptive, transversal and retrospective study was carried out from February to May, 2013. 100 Cameroonians aged 20 years and above took part in the study. A survey comprising globally of the sources of production of POPs and the identification of sanitary and environmental impact was performed. The results obtained were analysed using the STAT 11.0 software. The association between an exposition to a toxic chemical substance and the appearance of symptoms was measured through the estimation of the impact which corresponds to the calculation of the event rate. The proportion of participants aged more than 30 years was significantly higher than the proportion of participants aged 20 to 30 years (p<0.05). The participants did not follow any training for the use of pesticides. 70% of them did not know what is known as a POP pesticide, were ignorant and bought pesticides in the black market. An absence of the individual protection equipment was observed in the market-gardeners. The number of market gardeners having skin irritation and headaches daily after application of the pesticides was significantly higher as compared to the market gardeners not presenting any symptom, with respective risk of 0.9 and 0.8 for occurrence of each symptom after exposition. The number of users having headache, blurred vision and fatigue after manipulating paints was significantly higher as compared to users presenting no symptom, with respective risk of 0.9, 0.8 and 0.8 for occurrence of each symptom after exposition. It is worth noting that 15% of the study population was involved in the non-intentional production of POPs (dioxins and furans) through incineration of garbage. The sources of intentional production of POPs were: the wood transformation factory, the industry for production of plastic plates and cups as well as clandestine pastries. In conclusion, the diffusion of POPs in Yaoundé VII sub-division could be associated with sanitary impact which varies from one individual to another. The assessment of the environmental risk was not exhaustive and therefore requires a more advanced study in which the POPs will be analysed in samples such as water, soil, air and food.
Key words: Health, environment, risk, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), Yaoundé.