Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1999;25(3):207-214    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.425 | Issue date: Jun 1999

Occupational exposure and cancer incidence among workers from an aluminum smelter in western Norway

by Rønneberg A, Haldorsen T, Romundstad P, Andersen A

Objectives This study investigated the associations between specific cancers and occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), asbestos, electromagnetic fields, and heat in a cohort of workers from a Norwegian aluminum smelter.

Methods Cancer incidence between 1953 and 1993 was observed for 2647 male short-term workers and 2 cohorts of men with at least 4 years' employment (2888 production workers and 373 maintenance workers). Standardized incidence ratios (SIR) were calculated from the national male cancer incidence, and associations with cumulative exposure were investigated by stratified analysis. Cumulative exposure in 15-year time windows was used as an alternative dose indicator.

Results Investigation of the a priori hypotheses in the production cohort revealed a positive association between bladder cancer and PAH exposure 30 years or more before observation. The results also suggested an association between PAH and pancreatic cancer, although not statistically significant. No association was seen between exposure to PAH and cancers of the lungs or between magnetic field exposure and lymphatic and hematopoietic cancer. In the maintenance cohort there was a positive association between employment as an electrician and lymphatic and hematopoietic cancer and a statistically nonsignificant association between PAH and lung cancer. The short-term workers showed a statistically significant excess of lung cancer.

Conclusion The results support previous findings of an association between exposure to PAH and bladder cancer.

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