(HealthDay News) — Proximity to benzene release sites in metropolitan areas of Georgia are associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to a study published online July 29 in Cancer.

Catherine Bulka, M.P.H., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed several databases to identify patterns of cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma based on proximity to benzene release sites in Georgia from 1988 to 1998.

The researchers found that the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma fell by about 0.3% with each average increase of 1 mile from a benzene release site, with similar results for all subtypes. Benzene release sites associated with increased cancer incidence were either in the metropolitan Atlanta area or near Savannah.

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“Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma incidence was significantly higher in census tracts that were closer, on average, to benzene release sites,” Bulka and colleagues conclude.