HOUSTON — A University of Texas study found a possible link between childhood leukemia and living close to the city’s refinery row along the Houston Ship Channel, one of the study’s co-authors said Thursday.
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The study found that living within two miles of elevated levels of 1,3-butadiene around the ship channel’s petrochemical complex was associated with a 56 percent increased incidence of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia compared with those living more than 10 miles away, according to a statement from the city of Houston, which financed the study.
“When we looked at distance from the ship channel we find data that suggests there is an association with chemicals in the air and childhood leukemia,” said Ann Coker, professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston.
Houston Mayor Bill White said the city would use the study to support efforts to reduce pollution from petrochemical plants.
“The science supports our claim that reducing hazardous air pollutants must be a high priority for Houston,” White said in a statement.
White has used the threat of tougher enforcement of anti-pollution laws to win agreements from petrochemical plants to reduce pollution.
The substance 1,3-butadiene is used to make petrochemicalslike ethylene.
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