, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 49-54

Case–control study on cancer risk associated to residence in the neighbourhood of a petrochemical plant

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Abstract

The aim of the present study is to investigate cancer mortality and residence in the neighbourhood of the petrochemical plant located in Brindisi, South-eastern Italy. Cases were all subjects resident in Brindisi and in three neighbouring municipalities who died in the study area in 1996–1997 from lung cancer, pleural neoplasm, bladder cancer and lymphohematopoietic malignancies. Controls were subjects resident in the same area and deceased in 1996–1997 for any cause except those listed for the cases. Next of kin's of all study subjects were visited by an interviewer who collected anamnestic information. The main residence of each subject, defined as the longest held residence with exclusion of the last 10 years, was reported on a digitalized map of the study area (MapInfo). The study included 144 cases and 176 controls; response rate was 98%. Residence within 2 km from the centre of the petrochemical plant was associated with a 3 fold increase of the Odds ratios (OR) for lung cancer, which did not reach statistical significance. Living close to the petrochemical plant was associated with moderate increases of OR for bladder cancer and lymphohematopoietic neoplasms which did not reach statistical significance. In conclusion the present study has shown moderate increases in risk for lung, bladder and lymphohematopoietic neoplasms in the population resident within 2 km from the centre of the petrochemical plant in Brindisi. These figures were confirmed after adjusting for smoking habit, occupation and school level. Random misclassification may have somehow resulted in risk underestimation.