Peckham-Gregory EC, Ton M, Rabin KR, Danysh HE, Scheurer ME, Lupo PJ. Maternal residential proximity to major roadways and the risk of childhood acute leukemia: a population-based case-control study in Texas, 1995-2011. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jun 7;16(11). doi: 10.3390/ijerph16112029.


Acute leukemia is the most common pediatric malignancy. Some studies suggest early-life exposures to air pollution increase risk of childhood leukemia. Therefore, we explored the association between maternal residential proximity to major roadways and risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Information on cases with acute leukemia (n = 2030) was obtained for the period 1995-2011 from the Texas Cancer Registry. Birth certificate controls were frequency matched (10:1) on birth year (n = 20,300). Three residential proximity measures were assessed: (1) distance to nearest major roadway, (2) residence within 500 meters of a major roadway, and (3) roadway density. Multivariate logistic regression was used to generate adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Mothers who lived ≤500 meters to a major roadway were not more likely to have a child who developed ALL (OR = 1.03; 95% CI: 0.91-1.16) or AML (OR = 0.84; 95% CI: 0.64-1.11). Mothers who lived in areas characterized by high roadway density were not more likely to have children who developed ALL (OR = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.93-1.20) or AML (OR = 0.83, 95% CI: 0.61-1.13). Our results do not support the hypothesis that maternal proximity to major roadways is strongly associated with childhood acute leukemia. Future assessments evaluating the role of early-life exposure to environmental factors on acute leukemia risk should explore novel methods for directly measuring exposures during relevant periods of development.

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