Toxics Release Inventory facilities and childhood cancer: Geographic information systems based approach
Purpose. To examine the association between living in proximity to Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) facilities and the incidence of childhood cancer in the State of Texas. Design. This is a secondary data analysis utilizing the publicly available Toxics release inventory (TRI), maintained by the U.S. Environmental protection agency that lists the facilities that release any of the 650 TRI chemicals. Total childhood cancer cases and childhood cancer rate (age 0-14 years) by county, for the years 1995-2003 were used from the Texas cancer registry, available at the Texas department of State Health Services website. Setting: This study was limited to the children population of the State of Texas. Method. Analysis was done using Stata version 9 and SPSS version 15.0. Satscan was used for geographical spatial clustering of childhood cancer cases based on county centroids using the Poisson clustering algorithm which adjusts for population density. Pictorial maps were created using MapInfo professional version 8.0. Results. One hundred and twenty five counties had no TRI facilities in their region, while 129 facilities had at least one TRI facility. An increasing trend for number of facilities and total disposal was observed except for the highest category based on cancer rate quartiles. Linear regression analysis using log transformation for number of facilities and total disposal in predicting cancer rates was computed, however both these variables were not found to be significant predictors. Seven significant geographical spatial clusters of counties for high childhood cancer rates (p<0.05) were indicated. Binomial logistic regression by categorizing the cancer rate in to two groups (<=150 and >150) indicated an odds ratio of 1.58 (CI 1.127, 2.222) for the natural log of number of facilities. Conclusion. We have used a unique methodology by combining GIS and spatial clustering techniques with existing statistical approaches in examining the association between living in proximity to TRI facilities and the incidence of childhood cancer in the State of Texas. Although a concrete association was not indicated, further studies are required examining specific TRI chemicals. Use of this information can enable the researchers and public to identify potential concerns, gain a better understanding of potential risks, and work with industry and government to reduce toxic chemical use, disposal or other releases and the risks associated with them. TRI data, in conjunction with other information, can be used as a starting point in evaluating exposures and risks.
Bhat, Samrat V, "Toxics Release Inventory facilities and childhood cancer: Geographic information systems based approach" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1445111.