155,158 registered members
Pollution link to cancer in childhood
[Posted: Mon 17/01/2005 www.irishhealth.com]
By Deborah Condon
Women exposed to environmental pollution while pregnant are much more likely to have children who will go on to develop cancer, the results of a new study indicate.
Professor George Knox at the University of Birmingham examined the idea that childhood cancers are probably initiated by prenatal exposure to pollution. He gathered details on all children in the UK, who had died as a result of cancer between 1966 and 1980.
He also looked at emissions maps, which showed areas that were linked with local atmospheric emissions of various chemicals, such as areas with high levels of car pollution or areas where power stations were located.
He found that the risk of childhood cancer was significantly higher if the mother had lived near an emissions 'hotspot' when pregnant. In fact, women who lived within one kilometre of certain chemical hotspots, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, carried the highest risk. Both of these substances can be caused by vehicle engine exhausts.
"Calculated attributable risks showed that most child cancers and leukaemias are probably initiated by such exposures...The mother probably inhales these or related materials and passes them to the foetus across the placenta", Professor Knox said.
Details of these findings are published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
|To join the discussion, register by clicking here|