Case-control study on the association between a cluster of childhood haematopoietic malignancies and local environmental factors in Aalsmeer, The Netherlands.
STUDY OBJECTIVE AND DESIGN--In Aalsmeer, a horticultural community near the main international airport in The Netherlands, a more than fourfold increase in the incidence of haematopoietic malignancies in young people was observed between 1980 and 1985. In a population based case-control study, the association with local environmental factors was investigated. PARTICIPANTS--For each patient younger than 40 years of age (n = 14) diagnosed between 1975 and 1989, four age and sex matched controls were selected via local general practitioners. METHODS--All parents of patients and controls completed a questionnaire on their lifestyle, living conditions, and health, for several years preceding each individual diagnosis. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated, matched, and, if necessary, stratified for neighbourhood. MAIN RESULTS--Increased ORs were recorded for intensive use of petroleum products and pesticides by the patients themselves and their fathers: OR petroleum products: 8.0 (95% CI 2.2, 129.9) and 9.0 (1.0, 66.1) respectively; OR pesticides: 6.0 (0.6, 49.3) and 3.2 (1.0, 10.1) respectively. Swimming in a local pond was also significantly associated with the disease: OR = 5.3 (1.3, 17.4). In the 1970s this pond had been polluted by petroleum products and pesticides. CONCLUSIONS--The increased incidence of childhood haematopoietic malignancies in Aalsmeer may have been associated with several specific local environmental factors. Interpretation of the results, however, should take into account the fact that confidence intervals were wide because of the limited number of cases.