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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2009;72(6):397-401. doi: 10.1080/15287390802647229.

Nitrate in drinking water and risk of death from pancreatic cancer in Taiwan.

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Faculty of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan.


The relationship between nitrate levels in drinking water and risk of pancreatic cancer development remains inconclusive. A matched case-control and nitrate ecology study was used to investigate the association between mortality attributed to pancreatic cancer and nitrate exposure from Taiwan's drinking water. All pancreatic cancer deaths of Taiwan residents from 2000 through 2006 were obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the Taiwan Provincial Department of Health. Controls were deaths from other causes and were pair-matched to the cases by gender, year of birth, and year of death. Each matched control was selected randomly from the set of possible controls for each case. Data on nitrate-nitrogen (NO(3)-N) levels of drinking water throughout Taiwan were collected from Taiwan Water Supply Corporation (TWSC). The municipality of residence for cancer cases and controls was assumed to be the source of the subject's nitrate exposure via drinking water. The adjusted odds ratios and confidence limits for pancreatic cancer death for those with high nitrate levels in their drinking water, as compared to the lowest tertile, were 1.03 (0.9-1.18) and 1.1 (0.96-1.27), respectively. The results of the present study show that there was no statistically significant association between the levels of nitrate in drinking water and increased risk of death from pancreatic cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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