Exposure to drinking water trihalomethanes and nitrate and the risk of brain tumours in young people

Brain tumours (BTs) are one of the most frequent tumour types in young people. We explored the association between tap water, exposure to trihalomethanes (THM) and nitrate and neuroepithelial BT risk in young people. Analysis of tap water consumption were based on 321 cases and 919 appendicitis controls (10-24 years old) from 6 of the 14 participating countries in the international MOBI-Kids case-control study (2010-2016). Available historical residential tap water concentrations of THMs and nitrate, available from 3 countries for 86 cases and 352 controls and 85 cases and 343 for nitrate, respectively, were modelled and combined with the study subjects' personal consumption patterns to estimate ingestion and residential exposure levels in the study population (both pre- and postnatal). The mean age of participants was 16.6 years old and 56% were male. The highest levels and widest ranges for THMs were found in Spain (residential and ingested) and Italy and in Korea for nitrate. There was no association between BT and the amount of tap water consumed and the showering/bathing frequency. Odds Ratios (ORs) for BT in relation to both pre- and postnatal residential and ingestion levels of THMs were systematically below 1 (OR = 0.37 (0.08-1.73)) for postnatal average residential THMs higher than 66 μg/L. For nitrate, all ORs were above 1 (OR = 1.80 (0.91-3.55)) for postnatal average residential nitrate levels higher than 8.5 mg/L, with a suggestion of a trend of increased risk of neuroepithelial BTs with increasing residential nitrate levels in tap water, which appeared stronger in early in life. This, to our knowledge, is the first study on this topic in young people. Further research is required to clarify the observed associations.
© 2021 The Authors
Brain tumours, Water, Disinfection by-products, THM, Nitrate, Children, Young adults, Adolescents