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Int J Environ Health Res. 2016 Aug;26(4):458-66. doi: 10.1080/09603123.2016.1161178. Epub 2016 Mar 17.

PAHs and PM2.5 emissions and female breast cancer incidence in metro Atlanta and rural Georgia.

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a Department of Community Medicine , Mercer University School of Medicine , Macon , GA , USA.


Environmental chemical exposure could be an important etiologic factor for geographic differences in breast cancer incidence. In this study, we examined emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and PM2.5 in relation to breast cancer incidence in metro Atlanta and rural Georgia by analyzing data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program and the Environmental Protection Agency. The results showed that metro Atlanta had a significantly higher age-adjusted annual incidence rate of female breast cancer than rural Georgia (132.6 vs. 113.7 per 100,000) for 1992-2011. Emissions of both PAHs [adjusted β = 0.568 (95 % CI: 0.209, 0.927); p = 0.004] and PM2.5 [adjusted β = 2.964 (95 % CI: 0.468, 5.459); p = 0.023] were significantly associated with breast cancer incidence in metro Atlanta area. This study suggests that ambient air pollution, especially PAHs and PM2.5, could have a significant impact on the increased incidence of female breast cancer in urban areas.


Air pollution; PM2.5; breast cancer incidence; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; urban–rural differences

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