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Living Close to Heavy Industry May Raise Lung Cancer Risk

Close proximity to polluting industries may double the odds over long term

FRIDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term residence close to heavy industry areas may cause a modest increase in the risk of females developing lung cancer, according to a study published online Oct. 13 in Thorax.

Richard Edwards, M.D., of the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, and colleagues conducted a study of 204 women under age 80 with incident primary lung cancer who lived in Teesside in northeast England, matched with 339 community controls. The study data was obtained using interviewer-administered questionnaires to gather histories for residence, occupation, active and passive smoking.

Among people living more than 25 years near (within 0-5 kilometers) heavy industry, the odds ratio for lung cancer was 2.13 times that of those who had never lived so close to heavy industry. After adjusting for confounding factors, the odds ratio was 1.83 for those living more than 25 years or 1.10 for an additional 10 years living near industry. Adjustment for active smoking had the greatest influence on the odds ratio.

"This population-based study using life grid interviews for life course exposure assessment has addressed many deficiencies in the design of previous studies," the authors write. "The findings support those in most of the international literature of a modestly raised risk of lung cancer with prolonged residence close to heavy industry, although the confidence intervals were wide. The effect of air pollution on the incidence of lung cancer merits continued study," they conclude.

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