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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2014 Jul;217(6):662-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.12.003. Epub 2013 Dec 25.

Risk of leukemia in relation to exposure to ambient air toxics in pregnancy and early childhood.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Electronic address: jeheck@ucla.edu.
2
Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
3
Department of Biostatistics, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
4
Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

There are few established causes of leukemia, the most common type of cancer in children. Studies in adults suggest a role for specific environmental agents, but little is known about any effect from exposures in pregnancy to toxics in ambient air. In our case-control study, we ascertained 69 cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and 46 cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) from California Cancer Registry records of children <age 6, and 19,209 controls from California birth records within 2 km (1.3 miles) (ALL) and 6 km (3.8 miles) (AML) of an air toxics monitoring station between 1990 and 2007. Information on air toxics exposures was taken from community air monitors. We used logistic regression to estimate the risk of leukemia associated with one interquartile range increase in air toxic exposure. Risk of ALL was elevated with 3(rd) trimester exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (OR=1.16, 95% CI 1.04, 1.29), arsenic (OR=1.33, 95% CI 1.02, 1.73), benzene (OR=1.50, 95% CI 1.08, 2.09), and three other toxics related to fuel combustion. Risk of AML was increased with 3rd trimester exposure to chloroform (OR=1.30, 95% CI 1.00, 1.69), benzene (1.75, 95% CI 1.04, 2.93), and two other traffic-related toxics. During the child's first year, exposure to butadiene, ortho-xylene, and toluene increased risk for AML and exposure to selenium increased risk for ALL. Benzene is an established cause of leukemia in adults; this study supports that ambient exposures to this and other chemicals in pregnancy and early life may also increase leukemia risk in children.

KEYWORDS:

Arsenic; Benzene; Childhood cancer epidemiology; Childhood leukemia; Chloroform; Lead; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Pregnancy; Toluene; Xylenes

PMID:
24472648
PMCID:
PMC4071125
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.12.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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