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Lung cancer risk associated with residential proximity to industrial installations: a spatial analysis

Abstract

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death and thus a major public health problem. While lung cancer frequency might be partially attributable to smoking habit and occupational exposure, the role of industrial pollution also needs to be assessed. To ascertain the possible effect of residential proximity to industrial installations on lung cancer risk in Asturias, an industrial region in Spain, taking into account the type of industrial activity and carcinogenic substances released. We conducted a hospital-based case–control study covering 700 lung cancer patients and 700 controls recruited in Asturias, matched individually by ethnicity, hospital, age, and sex. Distances were computed from the respective participants’ residential locations to the 48 industrial facilities governed by the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Act 16/2002 and included in the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register, and located in the study areas. Using logistic regression, odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CIs) were calculated and adjusted for sex, age, hospital area, tobacco consumption, family history of cancer, area of residence, and occupation. Excess risk of lung cancer was observed for individuals living near industrial installations (OR = 1.43; 95 % CI = 1.08–1.89), particularly metal industries (OR = 1.40; 95 % CI = 1.05–1.87), cement plants (OR = 4.81; 95 % CI = 1.20–19.19), and shipyards (OR = 1.69; 95 % CI = 1.17–2.43). Residents living close to industrial facilities releasing dioxins displayed a high, though non-statistically significant, excess risk of lung cancer (OR = 1.62; 95 % CI = 0.86–3.07). This study suggests a possible association between lung cancer risk and proximity to industrial installations, specifically metal industries, cement plants, and shipyards.

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Acknowledgments

We are indebted to all the patients who participated in the study. We should also like to thank our technical colleagues (Molecular Epidemiology of Cancer Unit, University Institute of Oncology of the Principality of Asturias/Instituto Universitario de Oncología del Principado de Asturias) for collecting the data, and our statistician, Ana Fernández-Somoano, for her valuable contribution. This study was funded by Spain’s Health Research Fund (Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria—grants FIS CD07/00283 and FIS-07-BI060604).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

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Correspondence to M. F. López-Cima.

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M. F. López-Cima and J. García-Pérez contributed equally to this study.

A. Tardón and M. Pollán contributed equally to the design of the study.

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López-Cima, M.F., García-Pérez, J., Pérez-Gómez, B. et al. Lung cancer risk associated with residential proximity to industrial installations: a spatial analysis. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 10, 891–902 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13762-013-0248-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13762-013-0248-6

Keywords

  • Industrial pollution
  • Industries
  • Case–control study
  • Lung cancer