Acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML) is a very rare type of blood cancer. A new study revealed that children who live near traffic-choked roads run a 30% higher risk of developing a very rare type of blood cancer.
Among the roughly 140 new cases of AML in France each year, three can be linked to car exhaust. Study co-author Denis Hemon of France's national institute of health and medical research (INSERM) said, "The culprit could be benzene, a chemical put off by burning fossil fuels that has been linked to cancer in American research."
The research team compared the 2,760 cases of leukemia diagnosed in children under the age of 15 years from 2002-2007 in France to a sample of 30,000 children randomly selected from the national population. They discovered that the risk of AML was higher for children living less than a 150 meters (about 490 feet) from busy roads.
Hemon said, "We found the risk increased by 30% in the whole of France and 60% in Ile-de-France (Paris region). However, absolute risk of contracting the disease remained low given the very small number of new cases reported in France each year."
The results are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.