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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008;71(5):310-4. doi: 10.1080/15287390701738491.

Association of brain cancer with residential exposure to petrochemical air pollution in Taiwan.

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  • 1Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, College of Health Sciences, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


To investigate the relationship between petrochemical air pollution and brain cancer (29 yr of age or younger), the authors conducted a matched case-control study using deaths that occurred in Taiwan from 1995 through 2005. Data on all eligible brain cancer deaths were obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the Taiwan Provincial Department of Health. The control group consisted of subjects who died from causes other than neoplasms or diseases that were not associated with respiratory problems. The controls were pair matched to the cases by sex, year of birth, and year of death. Each matched control was selected randomly from the set of possible controls for each case. The proportion of a municipality's total population employed in the petrochemical industry in a municipality was used as an indicator of a resident's exposure to air emissions from the petrochemical industry. The subjects were divided into tertiles according to the levels of the index just described. Subjects who lived in the group of municipalities characterized by the highest levels of petrochemical air pollution had a statistically significant higher risk of developing brain cancer than the group that lived in municipalities with the lowest petrochemical air pollution levels after controlling for possible confounders (OR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.00-2.73). The findings of this study warrant further investigation of the role of petrochemical air pollution in the etiology of brain cancer.

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