Risk of Lung Cancer from Residential Heating 12/06

Discussion on health consequences of air particulates

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Risk of Lung Cancer from Residential Heating 12/06

Postby pm2.5mary » Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:22 pm

Interesting abstract that identifies residential wood heating with increased female lung cancer risk. It is interesting to note that men are not seemingly at increased risk. Possible explanations for this finding are that women spend an inordinate amount of time in the home (possibly due to domestic duties), and/or deposition of fine particulate (smoke) is different in men and women. These findings also echo the recently released University of Washington study that found women at increased risk of Heart Disease from Particulate Pollution.

Risk of Lung Cancer from Residential Heating and Cooking Fuels in Montreal, Canada
Agnihotram V. Ramanakumar1, Marie-Elise Parent2 and Jack Siemiatycki1,3

1 CHUM Research Centre, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2 INRS – Armand-Frappier Institute, University of Quebec, Laval, Quebec, Canada
3 Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Correspondence to Prof. Jack Siemiatycki, CRCHUM, 3875 St-Urbain #312, Montreal, Quebec H2W 1V1, Canada (e-mail: j.siemiatycki@umontreal.ca).

Among the major sources of indoor air pollution are combustion by-products from heating and cooking. Concern is increasing that use of polluting heating and cooking sources can increase cancer risk. In Canada, most cooking and heating currently relies on electricity or natural gas, but, in the past, and still in some areas, coal and wood stoves were used for heating and gas and wood for cooking. In the course of a case-control study of lung cancer carried out in Montreal in 1996–2001, the authors collected information on subjects' lifetime exposure to such sources of domestic pollution by means of a personal interview with the subject or a next-of-kin proxy. Questionnaires were completed for 739 male cases, 925 male controls, 466 female cases, and 616 female controls. Odds ratios were computed in relation to a few indices of exposure to traditional heating and cooking sources, adjusting for a number of covariates, including smoking. Among men, there was no indication of excess risks. Among women, the odds ratio for those exposed to both traditional heating and cooking sources was 2.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.5, 3.6; n = 253). The findings for women suggest the need for research dedicated to exploring this association, with particular emphasis on improved exposure assessment.

air pollution, indoor; Canada; case-control studies; cookery; fossil fuels; heating; lung neoplasms

American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access published online on December 22, 2006
"Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die. " (Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002)
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