Women who have lived near heavy industry for a long time appear to have an
increased risk of lung cancer, according to results of a study published in the
medical journal Thorax.
“The incidence of
lung cancer among women is high in the highly industrialized area of Teesside in
northeast England,” Dr. Richard Edwards, of the University of Otago, Wellington,
New Zealand, and colleagues write. “Previous research has implicated industrial
pollution as a possible cause.”
therefore studied 204 women younger than 80 years of age who had primary lung
cancers and 339 women in the same age group who did have lung cancer and also
lived in the Teesside district. Interviewer-administered questionnaires were
used to obtain histories on residence, occupation and smoking.
The risk of lung
cancer among women who lived near (within 0 to 5 km) heavy industry for longer
than 25 years was more than twice as high as the risk in those who never lived
near heavy industry.
After accounting for
the effects of age and other potential risk factors, the risk was still almost
twice as high for women who lived near heavy industry longer than 25 years. The
greatest effect on risk was seen after the data were adjusted for the effects of
“These findings support those in much of the international literature of
an increased risk of lung cancer with prolonged residence close to heavy
industry,” Edwards and colleagues conclude. “The effect of air pollution on the
incidence of lung cancer merits continued study.”