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Breast Cancer Risk Associated With Residential Proximity to Industrial Plants in Canada

Pan, Sai Yi MD; Morrison, Howard PhD; Gibbons, Laurie MSc; Zhou, Jia MSc; Wen, Shi Wu PhD; DesMeules, Marie MSc; Mao, Yang PhDthe Canadian Cancer Registries Epidemiology Research Group

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 5 - p 522–529
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318216d0b3

Objective: The relationship between breast cancer risk and residential proximity to paper mills, pulp mills, petroleum refineries, steel mills, thermal power plants, alum smelters, nickel smelters, lead smelters, copper smelters, and zinc smelters was assessed.

Methods: We conducted a population-based case-control study of 2343 cases with breast cancer and 2467 controls using residential proximity at some time between 1960 and 5 years before the completion of questionnaire in Canada.

Results: Adjusted odds ratios were statistically significantly increased for residing near steel mills (0.8 to 3.2 km) and thermal power plants (<0.8 km) in premenopausal women, petroleum refinery (0.8 to 3.2 km) and pulp mills (0.8 to 3.2 km) in postmenopausal women, and for 10 or more years of residing near thermal power plants of 0.8 km.

Conclusions: Our preliminary results suggested possible weak associations between breast cancer and proximity to steel mills, pulp mills, petroleum refineries, and thermal power plants.

From the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Public Health Agency of Canada (Drs Pan, Morrison, and Mao and Mr Gibbons), Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Institute of Health Research (Mr Zhou and Dr Wen), and Strategic Initiatives and Innovations Directorate, Public Health Agency of Canada (Ms DesMeules), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Cancer Registries Epidemiology Research Group comprises a principal investigator from each of the provincial cancer registries involved in the National Enhanced Cancer Surveillance System: Bertha Paulse, MSc, BN, Newfoundland Cancer Foundation; Ron Dewar, MA, Nova Scotia Cancer Registry; Dagny Dryer, MD, Prince Edward Island Cancer Registry; Nancy Kreiger, PhD, Cancer Care Ontario; Erich Kliewer, PhD, CancerCare Manitoba; Diane Robson, BA, Saskatchewan Cancer Foundation; Shirley Fincham, PhD, Division of Epidemiology, Prevention, and Screening, Alberta Cancer Board; and Nhu Le, PhD, British Columbia Cancer Agency.

Address correspondence to: Sai Yi Pan, MD, Science Integration Division, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Public Health Agency of Canada, 785 Carling Ave, Locator: 6807B, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0K9 (

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine