Associations between observed concentrations of ethylene oxide in whole blood and smoking, exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, and cancers including breast cancer: data for US children, adolescents, and adults

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Jun;27(17):20912-20919. doi: 10.1007/s11356-020-08564-z. Epub 2020 Apr 5.

Abstract

For the first time, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey released data on ethylene oxide (ETO) into public domain for US children aged 6-11 years, adolescents aged 12-19 years, and adults aged ≥ 20 years for 2013-2016. This study was undertaken to evaluate the associations between concentrations of ETO in whole blood and smoking, exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), and self-reported diagnosis of cancers including breast cancer. Both adolescent (29.6 vs. 49.6 pmol/g Hb, p < 0.01) and adult smokers (31.5 vs. 142.7 pmol/g Hb, p < 0.01) were found to have substantially higher adjusted levels of ethylene oxide than nonsmokers. Non-Hispanic blacks had higher levels of ethylene oxide than other race/ethnicities for children and adolescents. Non-Hispanic Asians had higher levels of ethylene oxide than other race/ethnicities for adults. Exposure to ETO measured by the number of smokers smoking inside the home (p < 0.01) and number of days smokers smoked inside the home (p = 0.03) during the prior week was found to be associated with elevated levels of ETO (p < 0.01) among US adults. Increased age was associated with elevated levels of ETO among adolescents (p = 0.02) and adults (p < 0.01) but the reverse was true for children (p = 0.04). For the general US population, levels of ETO were not found to be associated with cancers including breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Cancer; Environmental tobacco smoke; Ethylene oxide; Smoking.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Ethylene Oxide
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Ethylene Oxide