Short communication

Scand J Work Environ Health 1995;21(4):293-295    pdf | Issue date: Aug 1995

Primary liver cancer and renal cell carcinoma in laundry and dry-cleaning workers in Denmark

by Lynge E, Carstensen B, Andersen O

Objectives Previous studies have shown an excess risk of primary liver cancer among women working in laundries and dry-cleaning shops in Denmark at the time of the census in 1970. During the period 1970--1987, 14 cases of primary liver cancer were observed (standardized mortality ratio 2.7, 95% confidence interval 1.5--4.5). A nested case-referent study was undertaken in order to classify laundry workers and dry-cleaning workers separately. According to hints in the literature, renal-cell carcinomas were also included in this analysis.

Methods Original census forms from 1970 were retrieved from the Danish National Record Office for the 17 cases with primary liver cancer and the 16 cases with renal-cell carcinoma and five matched referents per case.

Results All of the 17 patients with primary liver cancer worked in laundries in 1970, whereas only 74% of the referents worked in laundries. Neither was the risk of renal-cell carcinoma associated with dry-cleaning work (relative risk 0.7, 95% CI 0.2--2.6).

Conclusion The excess risk of primary liver cancer observed for women working in laundries and dry-cleaning shops in Denmark is not likely to be explained by exposure to dry-cleaning solvents. Excessive alcohol consumption is not a likely explanation either, and the excess risk therefore remains unexplained.