Correlation Found Between Proximity to Benzene Facilities and Lymphoma

According to Georgia researchers, there is a correlation between facilities that release the carcinogen benzene, the number of miles people live from it and their risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Specifically, researchers found that one's risk for developing the disease dropped for every mile away he or she lived from such a facility.

Dr. Christopher Flowers, the study's lead author and head of the lymphoma program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, said:

It would suggest even with moderate changes in distance that there can be large changes in the decrease in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Benzene exposure

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that benzene is used to produce nylon, plastic, resins, lubricants, dyes, cleaners and pesticides. It does not require much exposure to change DNA, according to Flowers and colleagues.

Flowers and colleagues compiled this study by combining information on chemical release sites in Georgia between 1988 and 1998 from the EPA along with census information and data from a state cancer registry.

A total of 19 Georgia facilities reported benzene releases between 1988 and 1998, and 12,716 adult cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were reported in that time frame.

An interesting discovery

The key finding was that the risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma dropped by 0.3 percent for every mile between a benzene release site and an individual's residence.

These findings add to the growing body of research linking benzene to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The chemical has long been linked to leukemia.

Source: Cancer

Photo of Wilmington Refinery by John Nyboer

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