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An industry-wide study of respiratory cancer in chemical workers exposed to chloromethyl ethers.
Collingwood KW; Pasternack BS; Shore RE
J Natl Cancer Inst 1987 Jun; 78(6):1127-1136
An industrywide study of respiratory cancer in chemical workers exposed to chloromethyl ethers was conducted. The cohort consisted of 2460 workers with known or presumed exposure to chloromethyl- methyl-ether (107302) (CMME) at six companies during the period 1948 through 1980 and a seventh company from 1953 through 1980. Vital status of the workers at the first six companies was determined as of September 1, 1979, and at the seventh company as of December 31, 1980. Death certificates for all deceased subjects were reviewed and standard mortality ratios (SMRs) were computed. Exposure was assessed according to arbitrary scales. In addition to the cohort, 3692 workers at the facilities had no CMME exposure. At all companies combined, significant excess mortality occurred only in exposed workers for all cancers, SMR 160. This was due to excess mortality from respiratory cancer occurring among exposed workers at two companies. The only significant excess mortality in nonexposed workers occurred at the seventh company where two deaths from cancer of the digestive tract and peritoneum occurred, versus 0.2 expected. Regression analysis showed no correlation between relative risk of respiratory cancer and age at first exposure; however, excess relative risk was significantly correlated with cumulative exposure and inversely correlated with time since last exposure. The authors suggest that the absence of an age at first exposure effect is consistent with the notion that CMME acts at an early stage of a multistage carcinogenic process to initiate changes in stem cells that culminate in cancer.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Epidemiology; Organo-chlorine-compounds; Cancer-rates; Lung-cancer; Chemical-industry-workers; Occupational-exposure; Health-hazards; Biostatistics
Issue of Publication
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Environmental Medicine New York University Med Ctr 550 First Avenue New York, NY 10016
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division