People who live near heavy industry sites could face the risk of developing lung cancer although the effect is relatively modest, says a study.
Researchers studied over 200 women under the age of 80 with primary lung cancer and compared them with 339 healthy women in Teeside, northeast England, reported Newswise wire.
Rates of lung cancer among women are high in this particular area of England, where heavy industries expanded rapidly throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and where poverty and deprivation are common, according to the research published ahead of print in Thorax.
The researchers interviewed study participants at length about their lives, including full histories of where they had lived, their employment, as well as their smoking habits and exposure to second hand smoke.
The distances from heavy industry sites were grouped into three zones: less than five kilometres (zone A) away; five to 10 km away (Zone B) and more than 10 km away (Zone C).
The average length of time that all participants had lived in the area was over 55 years.
After taking account of smoking and other factors likely to influence the results, the data showed that women who had lived in zone A for more than 25 years were almost twice as likely to develop lung cancer as those who had not lived there.
The findings are broadly consistent with those of other studies, the researchers say, who suggest that the impact of air pollution on the development of lung cancer warrants further study.