We performed a geographical analysis of cancer mortality in the communes surrounding an industrial mining complex (Salsigne, France) where suspicious levels of pollution due to arsenic were measured. Compared with that observed in a control area, we showed a significant excess of mortality due to all cancer types (ratio of standard mortality ratios (ratio of SMRs)=1.1), lung cancer (ratio of SMRs=1.8), pharynx cancer (ratio of SMRs=2.1) in the whole population, and due to digestive system cancer (ratio of SMRs=1.3) among women. The results were similar after controlling for the occupation distribution in the populations. Excluding mining complex workers deaths from the deaths in the studied populations did not modify the pattern of our results. We concluded that the excess of cancer deaths could not be exclusively due to potential professional exposures among the workers of the mining complex and are probably explained by environmental contamination.
Auteur : Dondon MG, de Vathaire F, Quenel P, Frery N
European journal of cancer prevention, 2005, vol. 14, n°. 3, p. 297-301