Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Colorectal cancer mortality and industrial pollution in Spain

Gonzalo López-Abente12*, Javier García-Pérez12, Pablo Fernández-Navarro12, Elena Boldo12 and Rebeca Ramis12

Author Affiliations

1 Cancer and Environmental Epidemiology Unit, National Centre for Epidemiology, Carlos III Institute of Health, Monforte de Lemos 5, 28029, Madrid, Spain

2 Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology & Public Health (CIBER en Epidemiología y Salud Pública - CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2012, 12:589  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-589

Published: 1 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Records kept as a result of the implementation of Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) and the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) constitute a public inventory of industries, created by the European Commission, which is a valuable resource for monitoring industrial pollution. Our objective is to ascertain whether there might be excess colorectal cancer mortality among populations residing in the vicinity of Spanish industrial installations that are governed by the IPPC Directive and E-PRTR Regulation and report their emissions to air.

Methods

An ecological study was designed to examine colorectal cancer mortality at a municipal level (8098 Spanish towns), over the period 1997–2006. We conducted an exploratory "near vs. far" analysis to estimate the relative risks (RR) of towns situated at a distance of less than 2 km from industrial installations. The analysis was repeated for each of the 24 industrial groups. RR and their 95% credible/confidence intervals (95%CI) were estimated on the basis of Poisson regression models, using two types of modelling: a) the conditional autoregressive Bayesian model proposed by Besag, York and Mollié, with explanatory variables; and b) a mixed regression model. Integrated nested Laplace approximations were used as a Bayesian inference tool.

Results

Statistically significant RRs were detected in the vicinity of mining industry (RR 1.258; 95%CI 1.082 - 1.463), paper and wood production (RR 1.071; 95%CI 1.007 – 1.140), food and beverage sector (RR 1.069; 95%CI 1.029 - 1.111), metal production and processing installations (RR 1.065; 95% CI 1.011 – 1.123) and ceramics (RR 1.050 ; 95%CI 1.004 – 1.099).

Conclusions

Given the exploratory nature of this study, it would seem advisable to check in other countries or with other designs, if the proximity of industries that emit pollutants into the air could be an added risk factor for colorectal cancer mortality. Nevertheless, some of the differences between men and women observed in the analyses of the industrial groups suggest that there may be a component of occupational exposure, little-studied in the case of cancers of the digestive system.

Keywords:
Epidemiology; Colorectal neoplasms; Industrial pollution; Environmental pollution/prevention and control