Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Breast cancer risk and residence near industry or traffic in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island, New York
Lewis-Michl, E. L., Melius, J. M., Kallenbach, L. R., Ju, C. L., Talbot, T. O., Orr, M. F., Lauridsen, P. E. Archives of Environmental Health. 1996. 51:4, 255-65.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Mammary carcinogen, traffic, PAH
Study design
Population based case-control study
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Controls: 966
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Women between 20 and 79 years of age in 1984-1986 participating in the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project. Cases diagnosed with breast cancer between 1984-1986; controls matched by age and county of residence were identified from drivers license records. Cases without a license were excluded. Participation limited to women who lived on Long Island for at least 20 consecutive years before diagnosis
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Air pollutants considered through indices of average annual exposure from industrial concentration and traffic. Based on SIC codes, manufacturing facilities that employed 20 or more workers and were listed in NY State Industrial Directory for 1965 and 19
How exposure was measured
GIS/geographic location
Exposure assessment comment
Broad exposure categories. Industrial facilities index does not consider the size of the facility or volume of emissions. Very small facilities (dry cleaners, gas stations) are not included. Chemical and non-chemical facilities tend to cluster together, so these categories cannot be differentiated. 25km-squared is too large an area for traffic exposures, non-primary roads were excluded, 1990 traffic data may not represent earlier years.
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Family history, history of benign breast disease, age at first live birth, years of education, age at diagnosis/interview
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Logistic regression; first 10 and second 10 years of exposure considered separately to explore latency
Strength of associations reported
No effects seen for premenopausal women (data not shown)
Nassau County postmenopausal women (n-908) ever exposed to:
Chemical facility Adjusted OR 1.61 (1.06-2.43)
High density traffic Adjusted OR 1.29 (.77-2.15)
Suffolk County postmenopausal women (n=530) ever exposed to:
Chemical facility Adjusted OR 1.58 (.71-3.51)
High density traffic Adjusted OR .89 (.40-1.99)
Nassau County postmenopausal women by level of exposure
Chemical facilities
88-97th percentile compared to none Adjusted OR 1.45 (.93-2.25)
98th percentile compared to none Adjusted OR 3.47 (1.06-11.38)
Nassau County postmenopausal women by level of exposure
Other facilities
88-97th percentile compared to none Adjusted OR 1.03 (.71-1.50)
98th percentile compared to none Adjusted OR 2.49 (0.97-6.40)
Results Comments
Few women employed in jobs that contributed to their exposure. Analysis of possible response bias indicates it is unlikely that under-participation of low socio-economic status controls accounts for results. The association with living near chemical facilities is generally consistent across the two counties and shows some evidence of dose-response.
Author address
Division of Occupational Health and Environmental Epidemiology, New York State Department of Health, Albany 12203, USA.