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The toxicity of upstate New York talc.
Brown-DP; Beaumont-JJ; Dement-JM; Tabershaw-IR; Thompson-CS
J Occup Med 1983 Mar; 25(3):178-181
Discrepancies between a NIOSH study of mortality in workers exposed to talc (14807966) at an upstate New York talc company and a study of the same workers conducted by Tabershaw Occupational Medicine Associates (TOMA), were discussed in two letters. The TOMA study concluded that talc dust exposures at a mine in upstate New York were not carcinogenic and did not create an excess risk of of lung cancer. It attributed any excess in lung cancer mortality to previous occupational exposures or factors. The NIOSH study found a three fold excess risk of lung cancer mortality and mortality from nonmalignant respiratory disease in workers at the mine. Mineralogical analyses of talc samples from the mine found fibrous tremolite (77536686) and anthophyllite (77536675), which had been associated with excess mortality from lung cancer and nonmalignant respiratory disease in other studies of talc miners. NIOSH criticized the TOMA study because it ignored latency, used selection bias when assessing exposures from previous jobs, and did not calculate the relative risk of lung cancer on a per dose basis. A response from TOMA questioned the validity of NIOSH's mineralogical analyses of the talc samples and asserted that NIOSH included in its cohort workers who had any duration of employment at the mine. TOMA claimed that if NIOSH had not included workers with less than 1 year exposure in the cohort, the increase in lung cancer risk it found would not have been statistically significant. The increase in lung cancer cases among the mine workers could be explained by smoking.
JOCMA7; NIOSH-Author; Epidemiology; Lung-cancer; Mortality-data; Talc-dust; Mine-workers; Statistical-analysis; Occupational-exposure; Mineral-dusts
14807-96-6; 77536-68-6; 77536-67-5
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational Medicine
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division