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Acute childhood leukaemia and environmental exposure to potential sources of benzene and other hydrocarbons; a case-control study
  1. C Steffen1,
  2. M F Auclerc2,
  3. A Auvrignon3,
  4. A Baruchel2,
  5. K Kebaili4,
  6. A Lambilliotte5,
  7. G Leverger3,
  8. D Sommelet6,
  9. E Vilmer7,
  10. D Hémon1,
  11. J Clavel1
  1. 1French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, INSERM U170, Villejuif, France
  2. 2Department of Pediatric Hematology, Saint-Louis Hospital, Paris, France
  3. 3Department of Pediatric Hematology, Armand Trousseau Hospital, Paris, France
  4. 4Department of Pediatric Hematology, Debrousse Hospital, Lyon, France
  5. 5Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Jeanne de Flandre Hospital, Lille, France
  6. 6Department of Pediatric Hematology, Brabois Hospital, Nancy, France
  7. 7Department of Pediatric Hematology-Immunology, Robert Debré Hospital, Paris, France
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr J Clavel
 Inserm U170, 16 avenue Paul Vaillant-Couturier, 94807 Villejuif cedex, France;


Aim: To analyse the association between potential environmental exposure to hydrocarbons and the risk of acute childhood leukaemia.

Methods: A hospital based multicentre case control study, stratified on centre, age, and sex, with 280 leukaemia cases and 285 controls was carried out. Data were collected by a standardised interview of the mothers.

Results: No clear association was seen between maternal occupational exposure to hydrocarbons during pregnancy and leukaemia, or between residential traffic density and leukaemia. There was an association between dwellings neighbouring a petrol station or a repair garage during childhood and the risk of childhood leukaemia (OR 4.0, 95% CI 1.5 to 10.3), with a duration trend. The association, which appeared particularly strong for acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia (OR 7.7, 95% CI 1.7 to 34.3), was not altered by adjustment for potential confounding factors.

Conclusions: Results showed an association between acute childhood leukaemia and dwellings neighbouring auto repair garages and petrol stations, which are benzene emitting sources. These findings could be due to chance, although the strength of the association and the duration trend are arguments for a causal association.

  • AL, acute leukaemia
  • ALL, acute lymphocytic leukaemia
  • ANLL, acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia
  • leukaemia
  • childhood
  • environment
  • epidemiology
  • hydrocarbons

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