Article

Risk of breast cancer following exposure to tetrachloroethylene-contaminated drinking water in Cape Cod, Massachusetts: reanalysis of a case-control study using a modified exposure assessment

Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Talbot 4 West, Boston, MA 02118, USA.
Environmental Health (Impact Factor: 2.71). 05/2011; 10:47. DOI: 10.1186/1476-069X-10-47
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) is an important occupational chemical used in metal degreasing and drycleaning and a prevalent drinking water contaminant. Exposure often occurs with other chemicals but it occurred alone in a pattern that reduced the likelihood of confounding in a unique scenario on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We previously found a small to moderate increased risk of breast cancer among women with the highest exposures using a simple exposure model. We have taken advantage of technical improvements in publically available software to incorporate a more sophisticated determination of water flow and direction to see if previous results were robust to more accurate exposure assessment.
The current analysis used PCE exposure estimates generated with the addition of water distribution modeling software (EPANET 2.0) to test model assumptions, compare exposure distributions to prior methods, and re-examine the risk of breast cancer. In addition, we applied data smoothing to examine nonlinear relationships between breast cancer and exposure. We also compared a set of measured PCE concentrations in water samples collected in 1980 to modeled estimates.
Thirty-nine percent of individuals considered unexposed in prior epidemiological analyses were considered exposed using the current method, but mostly at low exposure levels. As a result, the exposure distribution was shifted downward resulting in a lower value for the 90th percentile, the definition of "high exposure" in prior analyses. The current analyses confirmed a modest increase in the risk of breast cancer for women with high PCE exposure levels defined by either the 90th percentile (adjusted ORs 1.0-1.5 for 0-19 year latency assumptions) or smoothing analysis cut point (adjusted ORs 1.3-2.0 for 0-15 year latency assumptions). Current exposure estimates had a higher correlation with PCE concentrations in water samples (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.65, p < 0.0001) than estimates generated using the prior method (0.54, p < 0.0001).
The incorporation of sophisticated flow estimates in the exposure assessment method shifted the PCE exposure distribution downward, but did not meaningfully affect the exposure ranking of subjects or the strength of the association with the risk of breast cancer found in earlier analyses. Thus, the current analyses show a slightly elevated breast cancer risk for highly exposed women, with strengthened exposure assessment and minimization of misclassification by using the latest technology.

Full-text

Available from: Lisa G Gallagher, May 30, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
115 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To examine the association between knowledge of chemical exposure at work and cigarette smoking among Korean immigrant drycleaners. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with a total of 151 Korean immigrant drycleaners (mean age = 49 years, 64 % male) from 96 drycleaning shops in a Midwestern state. The data were collected on demographic and work-related characteristics, knowledge of occupational chemical exposure, health concerns associated with chemical exposure, and smoking status. Approximately 25 % of participants were current smokers. The multivariate regression showed that greater knowledge of occupational chemical exposures was significantly associated with a lower likelihood of current smoking [odds ratio (OR) .63; 95 % confidence interval (CI) .41-.95]. Furthermore, male gender (OR 6.32; 95 % CI 1.66-24.00), shorter-term residence in the US (OR .93; 95 % CI .88-.98), and having multiple duties (OR 2.76; 95 % CI 1.01-7.51) were important covariates associated with current smoking among Korean immigrant drycleaners. Knowledge on occupational chemical exposure was significantly associated with smoking among Korean immigrant drycleaners. Smoking cessation programs for this population should consider integrated approaches that incorporate work environment factors into individual and sociocultural components.
    Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 02/2014; DOI:10.1007/s10903-014-9989-7 · 1.16 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background While adult exposure to PCE is known to have toxic effects, there is little information on the long-term impact of prenatal and early childhood exposure. We undertook a retrospective cohort study to examine the effects of their early life exposure to PCE-contaminated drinking water. This retrospective cohort study examined whether prenatal and early childhood exposure to PCE-contaminated drinking water influenced the risk of a variety of chronic conditions among adults who were born between 1969 and 1983 in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. Methods Eight hundred and thirty-one participants with prenatal and early childhood PCE exposure and 547 unexposed participants were studied. Individuals completed questionnaires to gather information on demographic characteristics, chronic conditions, and other sources of solvent exposure. The location of residences from birth through 1990 were used to estimate PCE exposure with U.S. EPA’s water distribution system modeling software (EPANET) modified to incorporate a leaching and transport model. Results No associations were observed between early life PCE exposure and current occurrence of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, color blindness, near- and far sightedness and dry eyes. In contrast, a 1.8-fold increased risk of cancer (95% CI: 0.8, 4.0) was seen among individuals with any early life exposure. These results were based on 31 participants (23 exposed and 8 unexposed) who reported cancers at a variety of anatomical sites, particularly the cervix. A 1.5-fold increase in the risk of epilepsy (95% CI: 0.6, 3.6, based on 16 exposed and 7 unexposed participants) was also observed among individuals with any early life exposure that was further increased to 1.8 (95% CI: 0.7, 4.6) among those with exposure at or above the sample median. Conclusions These results suggest that the risk of epilepsy and certain types of cancer such as cervical cancer may be increased among adults who were exposed to PCE-contaminated drinking water exposure during gestation and early childhood. These findings should be interpreted cautiously because of the study limitations and confirmed in follow-up investigations of similarly exposed populations with medically-confirmed diagnoses. This relatively young study population should also be monitored periodically for subsequent changes in disease risk.
    Environmental Health 04/2015; 14(1). DOI:10.1186/s12940-015-0021-z · 2.71 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Prenatal drinking water exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE) has been previously related to intrauterine growth restriction and stillbirth. Pathophysiologic and epidemiologic evidence linking these outcomes to certain other pregnancy complications, including placental abruption, preeclampsia, and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) (i.e., ischemic placental diseases), suggests that PCE exposure may also be associated with these events. We examined whether prenatal exposure to PCE-contaminated drinking water was associated with overall or individual ischemic placental diseases.
    Environmental Health 09/2014; 13(1):72. DOI:10.1186/1476-069X-13-72 · 2.71 Impact Factor