-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- People who live near gas
refineries and manufacturing plants that release the chemical
benzene into the environment are at increased risk for the blood
cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency and the U.S. Census Bureau in order to identify regional
patterns of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Georgia between 1999 and 2008.
The metropolitan Atlanta region, Augusta and Savannah had the
highest incidences of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to the study,
which was published online July 29 in the journal
The investigators also found that the incidence of this type of
blood cancer was much higher than expected in areas around
refineries and plants in metropolitan Atlanta and Savannah that
released benzene into the air and water.
"Our study is the first to examine the relationship between passive benzene exposure and the incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the state population level," Catherine Bulka, of Emory University in Atlanta, said in a journal news release.
"Our findings are limited without similar studies to corroborate our results, but we hope that our research will inform readers of the potential risks of living near facilities that release carcinogens into the air, groundwater or soil," she added.
Living farther away from these benzene-emitting facilities was
advantageous, the study found. The risk of developing non-Hodgkin
lymphoma decreased 0.31 percent for every one-mile increase, the
These and other findings could prove critical in developing
public health policies to reduce rates of non-Hodgkin lymphoma,
which has been on the rise in the United States over the past few
decades, the researchers said.
Although the study found an association between non-Hodgkin
lymphoma and living near a facility that releases benzene into the
air or water, it did not establish a direct cause-and-effect
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
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