Incidence of cancer in the area around Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in 1988-2003: a population-based ecological study

Visser, Otto; van Wijnen, Joop H.; van Leeuwen, Flora E.
January 2005
BMC Public Health;2005, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p127
Academic Journal
Background: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is a major source of complaints about aircraft noise, safety risks and concerns about long term adverse health effects, including cancer. We investigated whether residents of the area around Schiphol are at higher risk of developing cancer than the general Dutch population. Methods: In a population-based study using the regional cancer registry, we estimated the cancer incidence during 1988-2003 in residents of the area surrounding Schiphol. We defined a study area based on aircraft noise contours and 4-digit postal code areas, since historical data on ambient air pollution were not available and recent emission data did not differ from the background urban air quality. Results: In residents of the study area 13 207 cancer cases were diagnosed, which was close to the expected number, using national incidence rates as a reference (standardized incidence ratio [SIR] 1.02). We found a statistically significantly increased incidence of hematological malignancies (SIR 1.12, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.05, 1.19), mainly due to high rates for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (SIR 1.22, 95% CI: 1.12, 1.33) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (SIR 1.34, 95% CI: 0.95, 1.83). The incidence of cancer of the respiratory system was statistically significantly decreased (SIR 0.94, 95% CI: 0.90, 0.99), due to the low rate in males (SIR 0.89). In the core zone of the study area, cancer incidence was slightly higher than in the remaining ring zone (rate ratio of the core zone compared to the ring zone 1.05, 95% CI 1.01, 1.10). This was caused by the higher incidence of cancer of the respiratory system, prostate and the female genital organs in the core zone in comparison to the ring zone. Conclusion: The overall cancer incidence in the Schiphol area was similar to the national incidence. The moderately increased risk of hematological malignancies could not be explained by higher levels of ambient air pollution in the Schiphol area. This observation warrants further research, for example in a study with focus on substances in urban ambient air pollution, as similar findings were observed in Greater Amsterdam.



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