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Refuelling of vehicles, the use of wood burners and the risk of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in childhood

Authors

  • Helen D. Bailey,

    Corresponding author
    1. Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia
      Ms Helen D. Bailey, The University of Western Australia, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, PO BOX 855, West Perth, WA 6872, Australia. E-mail: helenb@ichr.uwa.edu.au
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  • Nicholas H. de Klerk,

    1. Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia
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  • Lin Fritschi,

    1. Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA
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  • John Attia,

    1. Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle
    2. Department of Medicine, John Hunter Hospital and Hunter Medical Research Institute, New Lambton
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  • John D. Daubenton,

    1. Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, Tas., Australia
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  • Bruce K. Armstrong,

    1. Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
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  • Elizabeth Milne,

    1. Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia
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  • for the Aus-ALL Consortium


Ms Helen D. Bailey, The University of Western Australia, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, PO BOX 855, West Perth, WA 6872, Australia. E-mail: helenb@ichr.uwa.edu.au

Summary

Bailey HD, de Klerk NH, Fritschi L, Attia J, Daubenton JD, Armstrong BK, Milne E for the Aus-ALL Consortium. Refuelling of vehicles, the use of wood burners and the risk of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in childhood. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2011; 25: 528–539.

It is plausible that exposure of the parents before birth or of the child to sources of benzene increases the risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). The aim of this analysis was to investigate whether refuelling a vehicle with petrol before birth or burning wood to heat the home before or after the child's birth increased the risk of childhood ALL. Data from 389 cases and 876 frequency-matched controls were analysed using unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for study matching factors and potential confounders. The odds ratio (OR) for the mother ever refuelling a vehicle with petrol for non-occupational purposes before or during the pregnancy was 0.97 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.69, 1.38]. The OR for the father for this exposure in the year before conception was 0.88 [95% CI 0.52, 1.48]. The OR for use of a closed wood burner to heat the home in the year before or during pregnancy was 1.41 [95% CI 1.02, 1.94] and 1.25 [95% CI 0.92, 1.70] after birth. We found no evidence that non-occupational refuelling a vehicle with petrol in the year before or during pregnancy increased the risk of ALL in the offspring. There was weak evidence that burning wood in a closed burner to heat the home increased the risk, but there was no dose–response relationship and chance could explain the finding.

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