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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(12), 16124-16135; doi:10.3390/ijerph121215047

A Temporal Association between Accumulated Petrol (Gasoline) Lead Emissions and Motor Neuron Disease in Australia

Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Remediation (EnSuRe), School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University, PO Box 71, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia
Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Suite 204, 2 Technology Place Macquarie University, Sydney 2109, Australia
Department of Pharmacology, Tulane University School of Medicine, 1430 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana, LA 70112, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Paul B. Tchounwou and William A. Toscano
Received: 8 September 2015 / Revised: 9 December 2015 / Accepted: 16 December 2015 / Published: 19 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lead: Risk Assessment and Health Effects)
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Background: The age standardised death rate from motor neuron disease (MND) has increased from 1.29 to 2.74 per 100,000, an increase of 112.4% between 1959 and 2013. It is clear that genetics could not have played a causal role in the increased rate of MND deaths over such a short time span. We postulate that environmental factors are responsible for this rate increase. We focus on lead additives in Australian petrol as a possible contributing environmental factor. Methods: The associations between historical petrol lead emissions and MND death trends in Australia between 1962 and 2013 were examined using linear regressions. Results: Regression results indicate best fit correlations between a 20 year lag of petrol lead emissions and age-standardised female death rate (R2 = 0.86, p = 4.88 × 10−23), male age standardised death rate (R2 = 0.86, p = 9.4 × 10−23) and percent all cause death attributed to MND (R2 = 0.98, p = 2.6 × 10−44). Conclusion: Legacy petrol lead emissions are associated with increased MND death trends in Australia. Further examination of the 20 year lag between exposure to petrol lead and the onset of MND is warranted. View Full-Text
Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; bone lead; motor neuron disease; poisoning; petrol; gasoline; soil amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; bone lead; motor neuron disease; poisoning; petrol; gasoline; soil

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Laidlaw, M.A.S.; Rowe, D.B.; Ball, A.S.; Mielke, H.W. A Temporal Association between Accumulated Petrol (Gasoline) Lead Emissions and Motor Neuron Disease in Australia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 16124-16135.

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