Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12105/5772
Association between heavy metal and metalloid levels in topsoil and cancer mortality in Spain
Nuñez, Olivier ISCIII | Fernandez-Navarro, Pablo L ISCIII | Martín-Méndez, Iván | Bel-Lan, Alejandro | Locutura Rupérez, Juan F | Lopez-Abente, Gonzalo ISCIII
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017; 24(8): 7413–7421.
Spatio-temporal cancer mortality studies in Spain have revealed patterns for some tumours which display a distribution that is similar across the sexes and persists over time. Such characteristics would be common to tumours that shared risk factors, including the geochemical composition of the soil. The aim of this study was to assess the possible association between heavy metal and metalloid levels in topsoil (upper soil horizon) and cancer mortality in mainland Spain. Ecological cancer mortality study at a municipal level, covering 861,440 cancer deaths (27 different tumour locations) in 7917 Spanish mainland towns, from 1999 to 2008. The elements included in this analysis were Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn. Topsoil levels (partial extraction) were determined by ICP-MS at 13,317 sampling points. For the analysis, the data on the topsoil composition have been transformed by the centred logratio (clr-transformation). Principal factor analysis was performed to obtain independent latent factors for the transformed variables. To estimate the effect of heavy metal levels in topsoil composition on mortality, we fitted Besag, York and Mollié models, which included each town's factor scores as the explanatory variable. Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation (INLA) was used as a tool for Bayesian inference. All results were adjusted for sociodemographic variables. The results showed an association between trace contents of heavy metals and metalloids in topsoil and mortality due to tumours of the digestive system in mainland Spain. This association was observed in both sexes, something that would support the hypothesis that the incorporation of heavy metals into the trophic chain might be playing a role in the aetiology of some types of cancer. Topsoil composition and the presence of potentially toxic elements in trace concentrations might be an additional component in the aetiology of some types of cancer, and go some way to determine the ensuing geographic differences in mortality in Spain. The results support the interest of inclusion of heavy metal levels in topsoil as a hypothesis in analytical epidemiological studies using biological markers of exposure to heavy metals and metalloids.
Cancer mortality | Compositional analysis | Geochemistry | Medical geology | Soil composition | Spatial data analysis
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