Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
Print this page
Breast and prostate cancer mortality and industrial pollution
Garcia-Perez, J., Perez-Abad, N., Lope, V., Castello, A., Pollan, M., Gonzalez-Sanchez, M., Valencia, J. L., Lopez-Abente, G., Fernandez-Navarro, P. Environmental pollution. 2016. 214, 394-9.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Air pollution Vehicle exhaust
Study design
Funding agency
Spain's Health Research Fund
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
No analyses based on menopausal status
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
The study population includes 57,830 breast cancer deaths recorded in 8,098 Spanish towns from 1997 to 2006. Mortality data for each municipality were extracted from records of the National Statistics Institute (NSI).
Comment about participation selection
Expected breast cancer mortality rates for each town were determined by multiplying the number of breast cancer deaths for entire population of Spain, broken down by age group and five-year calendar period, by the number of person-years in corresponding age group/period for each town.
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Distance from town centroid to at least one of 1970 facilities that came into operation before 1993 and was listed in industrial database provided by Spanish Ministry for Agriculture, Food & Environment as releasing emissions in 2009. Analyses were also p
How exposure was measured
GIS/geographic location
Exposure assessment comment
Municipalities with centroid >5km from all facilities served as the study's reference population. The authors accounted for a lag time of at least ten years by restricting inclusion of polluting industries to those which began operating prior to 1993 and subsequently generated toxic waste or released emissions into air, water, or land in 2009.
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.
Age and standardized sociodemographic indicators by municipality: population size, percentage of illiteracy, percentage of farmers, percentage of unemployed, average persons per household, and mean income.
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Strength of associations reported
Town centroid 2km vs > 5km from at least one:
Mining facility RR 1.11 (95% CI 0.90-1.36)
Fertilizer facility RR 1.10 (95% CI 0.95-1.27)
Hazardous waste facility RR 0.96 (95% CI 0.84-1.08)
Aquaculture facility RR 1.30 (95% CI 0.64-2.36)
Paper and wood production facility RR 0.97 (95% CI 0.89-1.06)
Results Comments
No significant risks were observed for proximity to combustion installations, refineries and coke ovens, production and processing of metals, galvanization, surface treatment of metals and plastic, cement and lime, glass and mineral fibers, organic chemical industry, inorganic chemical industry, biocides, pharmaceutical products, explosives and pyrotechnics, hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste, disposal or recycling of animal waste, urban waste-water treatment plants, paper and wood production, pre-treatment of dyeing of textiles, tanning of hides and skin, food and beverage sector, surface treatment using organic solvents, or all sectors combined.
Author address
Cancer and Environmental Epidemiology Unit, National Center for Epidemiology, Carlos III Institute of Health, Avda. Monforte de Lemos, 5, 28029 Madrid, Spain; Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBER Epidemiologia y Salu
Reviewers Comments
Mortality is not a sensitive measure of breast cancer risk. A limitation to the ecologic design is the lack of individual risk factor information related to breast cancer.