This research aims to study incidence of acute leukaemia in adults living under potential environmental exposure to industrial emissions in selected cities in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It evaluates the incidence of hospitalizations for leukaemia among residents of 19 metropolitan areas of the State of Rio de Janeiro registered in the Brazilian Health Care System (SUS) between January 2006 and March 2014, according to their residence area. Here, a comparison among the studied cities was performed taking as estimated morbidity indicator the hospitalization rate for leukaemia by residence area. Nineteen of a total of 92 municipalities in the State of Rio de Janeiro were selected for the present study. The adopted selection criteria were distance of each municipality to the City of Rio de Janeiro of less than 180 km, similar health policies, number of public health facilities, urban and rural population distribution and the amount of industries in each municipality. Thus, the selected municipalities were: Belford Roxo, Duque de Caxias, Itaboraí, Itaguaí, Japeri, Macaé, Mage, Marica, Mesquita, Nilopolis, Niterói, Nova Iguaçu, Queimados, Rio Bonito, Rio de Janeiro, São Gonçalo, São João de Meriti, Seropédica and Tanguá. The study thus revealed that among these municipalities, Macaé, Itaboraí, Queimados and Duque de Caxias showed the highest hospitalization rates for leukemia in adults (≥20 years old) for both sexes. Additionally, morbidity was about 6 times higher than the average of the reference municipalities. A common feature of these municipalities is the massive presence of potentially polluting industries, especially oil refining activities. The results presented herein strongly suggest a correlation between environmental pollution by industrial emissions and acute leukaemia in adults. It is important to note that, even in this situation, the causality can only be determined categorically through individual studies.
Key words: Leukemia, environmental contamination, epidemiology, cancer risk.
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