The association between acute childhood leukemia and residing next to gas stations and automotive repair garages was analysed in a national registry-based case-control study carried out in France in 2003-2004.
Population controls were frequency matched with the cases on age and gender. Data were collected by a standardized telephone interview with the mothers. The latter were asked to report the vicinity of their homes to gas stations, automotive repair garages and other businesses from the conception of the index child to the diagnosis (for cases) or interview (for controls). Odds ratios were estimated using unconditional regression models adjusted for age, gender, number of children under 15 years old in the household, degree of urbanization and type of housing.
A total of 765 cases of acute leukemia (AL) and 1681 controls were included. AL was significantly associated with residence next to gas stations or automotive-repair garages (OR = 1.6 [1.2-2.2]) and next to gas station (OR = 1.9 [1.2-3.0]). The OR showed no tendency to increase with duration of exposure. The results were not modified by adjustment for potential confounding factors including urban/rural status and type of housing.
The results support the findings of our previous study and suggest that living next to a gas station may be associated with childhood acute leukemia. The results also suggest that the role of low-level exposure to benzene in childhood AL deserves further evaluation.
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