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Cancer mortality in workers exposed to organochlorine compounds in the pulp and paper industry: an international collaborative study.

McLean-D; Pearce-N; Langseth-H; Jappinen-P; Szadkowska-Stanczyk-I; Persson-B; Wild-P; Kishi-R; Lynge-E; Henneberger-P; Sala-M; Teschke-K; Kauppinen-T; Colin-D; Kogevinas-M; Boffetta-P
Environ Health Perspect 2006 Jul; 114(7):1007-1012
The objective of this study was to evaluate cancer mortality in pulp and paper industry workers exposed to chlorinated organic compounds. We assembled a multinational cohort of workers employed between 1920 and 1996 in 11 countries. Exposure to both volatile and nonvolatile organochlorine compounds was estimated at the department level using an exposure matrix. We conducted a standardized mortality ratio (SMR) analysis based on age and calendar-period-specific national mortality rates and a Poisson regression analysis. The study population consisted of 60,468 workers. Workers exposed to volatile organochlorines experienced a deficit of all-cause [SMR = 0.91; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.89-0.93] and all-cancer (SMR = 0.93; 95% CI, 0.89-0.97) mortality, with no evidence of increased risks for any cancer of a priori interest. There was a weak, but statistically significant, trend of increasing risk of all-cancer mortality with increasing weighted cumulative exposure. A similar deficit in all-cause (SMR = 0.94; 95% CI, 0.91-0.96) and all-cancer (SMR = 0.94; 95% CI, 0.89-1.00) mortality was observed in those exposed to nonvolatile organochlorines. No excess risk was observed in cancers of a priori interest, although mortality from Hodgkin disease was elevated (SMR = 1.76; 95% CI, 1.02-2.82) . In this study we found little evidence that exposure to organochlorines at the levels experienced in the pulp and paper industry is associated with an increased risk of cancer, apart from a weak but significant association between all-cancer mortality and weighted cumulative volatile organochlorine exposure.
Cancer; Mortality-rates; Mortality-data; Workers; Worker-health; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-health; Occupational-hazards; Paper-manufacturing-industry; Organo-chlorine-compounds; Organic-compounds; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Epidemiology; Neoplasms
P. Boffetta, Gene-Environment Epidemiology Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert-Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
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Environmental Health Perspectives
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division