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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Study of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma mortality associated with industrial pollution in Spain, using Poisson models

Rebeca Ramis12*, Enrique Vidal12, Javier García-Pérez12, Virginia Lope12, Nuria Aragonés12, Beatriz Pérez-Gómez12, Marina Pollán12 and Gonzalo López-Abente12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Environmental Epidemiology and Cancer, National Centre for Epidemiology, Carlos III Institute of Health, Madrid, Spain

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

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9:26  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-26

Published: 21 January 2009

Abstract

Background

Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs) have been linked to proximity to industrial areas, but evidence regarding the health risk posed by residence near pollutant industries is very limited. The European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER) is a public register that furnishes valuable information on industries that release pollutants to air and water, along with their geographical location.

This study sought to explore the relationship between NHL mortality in small areas in Spain and environmental exposure to pollutant emissions from EPER-registered industries, using three Poisson-regression-based mathematical models.

Methods

Observed cases were drawn from mortality registries in Spain for the period 1994–2003. Industries were grouped into the following sectors: energy; metal; mineral; organic chemicals; waste; paper; food; and use of solvents. Populations having an industry within a radius of 1, 1.5, or 2 kilometres from the municipal centroid were deemed to be exposed. Municipalities outside those radii were considered as reference populations.

The relative risks (RRs) associated with proximity to pollutant industries were estimated using the following methods: Poisson Regression; mixed Poisson model with random provincial effect; and spatial autoregressive modelling (BYM model).

Results

Only proximity of paper industries to population centres (>2 km) could be associated with a greater risk of NHL mortality (mixed model: RR:1.24, 95% CI:1.09–1.42; BYM model: RR:1.21, 95% CI:1.01–1.45; Poisson model: RR:1.16, 95% CI:1.06–1.27). Spatial models yielded higher estimates.

Conclusion

The reported association between exposure to air pollution from the paper, pulp and board industry and NHL mortality is independent of the model used. Inclusion of spatial random effects terms in the risk estimate improves the study of associations between environmental exposures and mortality.

The EPER could be of great utility when studying the effects of industrial pollution on the health of the population.