Associations of Adolescence Exposure to Industrial Air Pollution with Cancer in Young Adults

Ruth Lev Bar-Or, None Yuval, Gilad Twig, David M. Broday, Lital Keinan-Boker, Ora Paltiel, Ronit Sinnreich, Dorit Tzur, Estela Derazne, Raanan Raz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


There is substantial public concern about the health risks of proximity to petrochemical industries. In the Haifa Bay Area (HBA), which contains Israel’s densest industrial area, these concerns have been strengthened by elevated cancer mortality rates since the late 1960s. We studied the association between adolescent exposure to industrial air pollution in the HBA and adult-onset cancer. This is a historical cohort study. The study population comprised 2,187,317 subjects, using the Israeli medical corps data linked to the Israel National Cancer Registry with follow-up of up to 45 years. Exposure assessments were estimated by a spatial kriging interpolation model of SO2, serving as a marker for the dispersion of air pollution emitted from the complex during the study period. We found increased crude (HR = 1.23, 95%CI= 1.17 to 1.29) and adjusted (HR = 1.16, 95%CI = 1.10 to 1.21) risk of cancer with increased exposure to air pollution in HBA. The associations remained robust in analyses stratified by decade and socio-economic status. We found evidence of monotonically increased risk in five of 13 cancer categories (leukemia, melanoma, female breast, central nervous system, and thyroid tumors). Our findings strengthen the hypothesis that this exposure posed a carcinogenic risk during the study period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironment and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 21 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Co-published by Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and American Chemical Society.


  • cancer
  • epidemiology
  • Haifa Bay Area
  • industrial air pollution
  • public health


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