The authors conducted a population-based, case-control study in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, Republic of China, to investigate the association between residential petrochemical exposure and leukemia risk among subjects 29 years of age and younger. Between November 1997 and June 2003, 171 cases and 410 controls matched for age and sex were recruited. Since assessment of petrochemical impacts depends on accurate exposure estimates, the authors developed a procedure using geographic information system tools to assign subjects' exposure. The resulting individual-level exposure estimates (the exposure opportunity score) are an integrated exposure measure that accounts for subjects' mobility, length of stay at each residence, distance to petrochemical plant(s), monthly prevailing wind direction, and multiple petrochemical pollution sources. Different conditional logistic regression models were fitted for subjects aged 0-19 and 20-29 years to evaluate separately childhood versus adulthood leukemia. No overall association was observed for the younger age group. However, residential petrochemical exposure was a significant risk factor for leukemia for the older age group. For one unit of increase in the log-transformed exposure opportunity score, the adjusted odds ratio was 1.54 (95 percent confidence interval: 1.14, 2.09). This study illustrates the utility of geographic information system tools for providing refined exposure estimates for residential exposure to petrochemical pollution.
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