Population-based research on occupational and environmental factors for leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: The Northern Germany Leukemia and Lymphoma Study (NLL)

Institute for Community Medicine, Section of Health Care Epidemiology and Community Health, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.59). 04/2008; 51(4):246-57. DOI: 10.1002/ajim.20551
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Northern Germany Leukemia and Lymphoma Study (NLL) is a population-based study designed to provide a quantitative basis for investigations into occupational and environmental risk factors for leukemia and lymphoma.
All incident cases of leukemia and lymphoma diagnosed between 1/1/1986 and 12/31/1998 in six counties in Northern Germany were actively ascertained. Controls were selected from population registries. Use of pesticides, sources of food supply, time spent at home and work, medical and family history were assessed via face-to-face interview. This self-reported information was used in conjunction with direct environmental measurements of pesticides in household dust and electromagnetic fields (EMFs). In addition, geographical information system (GIS) data were used to derive estimates of environmental exposure to pesticides, EMFs associated with transmission lines, and ionizing radiation from routine nuclear power reactor operations. Occupational exposure assessment was based on lifetime work history. For each job, information on branch of industry, company, job description, and duration of employment were ascertained.
Fourteen hundred thirty cases and 3041 controls were recruited. Lifetime residential and workplace histories totaled 49,628 addresses. Occupational exposure to pesticides was reported by 15% of the male participants (women: 16%). Four percent of the men (women: 8%) were occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation for >or=1 year over their lifetime. Sixty four percent of the participants had lived in the vicinity (20 km) of a nuclear power plant in operation.
The NLL illustrates the successful application of innovative methods to simultaneously assess occupational and environmental risk factors for leukemia and lymphoma including radiological hazards, pesticides, and EMFs.

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