Thursday, August 19, 2004

Petrol stations linked to leukaemia

Living near a petrol station may quadruple the risk of acute leukaemia in children, according to fresh research.

French scientists who carried out a study of more than 500 infants found that a child whose home was near a petrol station or vehicle-repair garage was four times as likely to develop leukaemia as a child whose home was further away.

The research published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that the longer a child lived nearby, the higher the risk of leukaemia seemed to be.

The researchers say the prevalence of childhood leukaemia is four in every 100,000 children, making it the most common type of childhood cancer in developed countries.

Few clear risk factors have been identified for the childhood variant but exposure to benzene in the workplace has been identified as a possible factor in leukaemia in adults, the authors say.

The risk appeared to be even greater for acute non-lymphoblastic leukaemia, which was seven times more common among children living close to a petrol station or commercial garage, the research showed.

By Diesel and Petrol 19 August 04