Female lung cancer and petrochemical air pollution in Taiwan

Arch Environ Health. 1999 May-Jun;54(3):180-5. doi: 10.1080/00039899909602257.


To investigate the relationship between petrochemical air pollution and female lung cancer, we conducted a matched case-control study among women who had died in Taiwan from 1990 through 1994. Data about all eligible female lung cancer deaths were obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the Taiwan Provincial Department of Health. The control group included women who died from nonneoplasms and diseases that were not associated with respiratory problems. We pair-matched the controls to the cases by sex, year of birth, and year of death. Each matched control was selected randomly from the set of possible controls for each case. We used the proportion of a municipality's total population employed in the petrochemical manufacturing industry as an indicator of a resident's exposure to air emissions from the petrochemical manufacturing industry. The subjects were divided into tertiles according to the above indicator. Women who lived in the 2 groups of municipalities characterized by higher levels of petrochemical pollution had a statistically significant higher risk of developing lung cancer than the group that lived in municipalities with the lowest petrochemical air pollution levels (after controlling for possible confounders). The linear trend was also statistically significant (p < .05). The results of this study shed important light on the relationship between the Taiwan petrochemical industry and the resulting risk to human health.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chemical Industry*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Petroleum*
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Sex Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Urban Population


  • Air Pollutants
  • Petroleum