Residence in proximity of a coal-oil-fired thermal power plant and risk of lung and bladder cancer in North-Eastern Italy. A population-based study: 1995-2009

Paolo Collarile, Ettore Bidoli, Fabio Barbone, Loris Zanier, Stefania Del Zotto, Simonetta Fuser, Fulvio Stel, Chiara Panato, Irene Gallai, Diego Serraino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study investigated the risk of lung and bladder cancers in people residing in proximity of a coal-oil-fired thermal power plant in an area of north-eastern Italy, covered by a population-based cancer registry. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) by sex, age, and histology were computed according to tertiles of residential exposure to benzene, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particular matter, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) among 1076 incident cases of lung and 650 cases of bladder cancers. In men of all ages and in women under 75 years of age, no significant associations were observed. Conversely, in women aged ≥75 years significantly increased risks of lung and bladder cancers were related to high exposure to benzene (IRR for highest vs. lowest tertile: 2.00 for lung cancer and 1.94 for bladder cancer) and NO2 (IRR: 1.72 for lung cancer, and 1.94 for bladder cancer). In these women, a 1.71-fold higher risk of lung cancer was also related to a high exposure to SO2. Acknowledging the limitations of our study, in particular that we did not have information regarding cigarette smoking habits, the findings of this study indicate that air pollution exposure may have had a role with regard to the risk of lung and bladder cancers limited to women aged ≥ 75 years. Such increased risk warrants further analytical investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number860
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Air pollution
  • Bladder cancer
  • Coal-fired thermal power plant
  • Geocoded
  • Lung cancer
  • North-eastern Italy
  • Oil thermal power plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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