Excess cancer mortality among children and adolescents in residential districts polluted by petrochemical manufacturing plants in Taiwan

J Toxicol Environ Health. 1994 Sep;43(1):117-29. doi: 10.1080/15287399409531908.


We have collected data on the cancer deaths of children and adolescents 0-19 yr old living in a residential area near 3 large petroleum and petrochemical complexes in and near Kaohsiung city (petrochemical industrial districts, PIDs) in the period of 1971-1990 and compared these with the cancer deaths of children and adolescents 0-19 yr old among the entire population of Taiwan (national reference) and among the residents of 26 administrative districts, comprising all of Kaohsiung city and Kaohsiung county (local reference), except for 8 sparsely populated, rural districts. Having scrutinized all cancer death certificates, we have identified various statistically significant excess deaths, as compared with the national and local reference, due to cancers at all sites. Cancer of the bone, brain, and bladder in boys and girls 0-9 yr and 10-19 yr of age in the 1981-1990 decade that followed the establishment of petrochemical production in the PIDs was studied. However, excess cancer deaths seemed to have clustered in the 10-19 yr age group, who had been potentially exposed to the petrochemical pollutants for the longest period of time from the youngest age. Almost all bone, brain, and bladder cancer deaths registered were within 3 km of the 3 complexes. Bone and brain cancers in particular occurred in girls in the PIDs more frequently than in boys, even though these are believed to occur more in males than females elsewhere.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollution
  • Bone Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Chemical Industry
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Death Certificates
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Petroleum*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sex Factors
  • Taiwan
  • Urban Health
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality*


  • Petroleum