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Original research
Parental occupational exposure to diesel engine exhaust in relation to childhood leukaemia and central nervous system cancers: a register-based nested case-control study in Denmark 1968–2016

Abstract

Objectives Using nationwide register data, we investigated the association between maternal and paternal perinatal employment in industries with exposure to diesel engine exhaust and risk of leukaemia and central nervous system (CNS) cancers, including certain subtypes.

Methods Children aged≤19 years and diagnosed with childhood cancer from 1968 to 2016 were identified in the Danish Cancer Registry and 25 randomly selected cancer-free controls per case were matched by age and sex. Parents were identified in the Danish Civil Registration System and employment histories were retrieved from a nationwide mandatory pension fund. The probability of exposure to diesel engine exhaust was assessed using a validated job exposure matrix. Conditional logistic regression was used for estimation of ORs, including their 95% CIs.

Results Maternal employment in industries with diesel engine exhaust exposure was associated with an increased risk of CNS cancers (OR 1.31, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.74) and of astrocytoma (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.14) in offspring. The highest OR for these cancers were seen for mothers with highest probability of exposure to diesel engine exhaust. For fathers, ORs for cancers under study were close to one. No increased risks of leukaemias were found for either mothers or fathers employed in diesel industries.

Conclusions Risks were increased for CNS and astrocytoma for maternal employment in industries with diesel engine exhaust.

  • childhood cancer
  • parental occupational exposure
  • diesel engine exhaust
  • register-based study
  • job-exposure matrix

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