ISLAMABAD - Children who encounter high levels of vehicle exhaust have a greater risk of developing childhood leukemia, according to a recent report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report by CDC is based on a review of previous seven studies involving 8,000 children. The report said that in the US an estimated 30 per cent to 45 per cent of people in large urban areas live near major roads “suggesting increased exposure to traffic-related air pollution and risk of adverse health outcomes,” Counsel and Heal reported. The article also noted that the studies reviewed by the CDC suggest “that childhood leukemia is associated with residential traffic exposure during the postnatal period, but not during the prenatal period.”

“The review found that children diagnosed with leukemia were 50 per cent

more likely to live near busy roads than children without leukemia,” said Vickie Boothe, a CDC health scientist and lead author of the article.   The incidence of childhood cancer in the US has been increasing since 1975, leukemia being the most common form of it. It also represents one-third of all cancers among children 14 and younger.  According to researchers, the recent report by CDC is the first comprehensive scientific review of studies assessing the association between residential traffic exposure and childhood cancer.

“Precautionary public health messages and interventions designed to reduce population exposure to traffic might be warranted,” wrote the researchers in the report.