Incidence of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Residential Proximity to Superfund Sites in Kentucky


The rates of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in Kentucky and the U.S. began to rise in the mid-20th century. Plausible mechanistic explanations exist for linkages between the development of NHL and exposures to specific chemicals. Several of these chemicals are present in sites within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program. This study investigated a possible association between residential proximity to Superfund sites in Kentucky and incidence of NHL over a period of 18 years. Cumulative incidence rates per 100,000 persons were calculated at the census tract level, within 5 km–10 km and <5 km from Superfund sites. Geographically weighted regression was necessary to create best-fitting models due to spatial autocorrelation and nonstationarity. Residential proximity to Superfund sites in Kentucky was associated with higher incidence of NHL; the average cumulative incidence of NHL per 100,000 decreased as the distance to the hazardous sites increased. This study confirmed previous research findings of an association between residential proximity to environmentally hazardous sites and the cumulative incidence rates of NHL. Future research should take into account the chemical profile of each site, to identify the most hazardous sites. Potential intervention strategies are presented based on the results of this study.

Speaker / Author: 
W. Brent Webber, DrPH, CIH, CSP, Environmental Health and Safety Division, University of Kentucky
Ramona Stone, MPH, PhD, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky
Month Year: 
July 2017
Page #: 
Publication Month: 
July/August 2017