Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1994;20(5):322-330    pdf


Bladder cancer and occupational exposures.

by Hours M, Dananche B, Fevotte J, Bergeret A, Ayzac L, Cardis E, Etard JF, Pallen C, Roy P, Fabry J

OBJECTIVES A hospital-based case-referent study was carried out in Lyon with the purpose of generating hypotheses about the role of occupational exposures to 320 compounds in bladder carcinogenesis.

METHODS Job histories were obtained by questionnaire for 116 cases and 232 reference patients with diseases other than cancer (one referent from the same hospital ward and one from another ward of the same hospital per case); the referents were matched for gender, hospital, age, and nationality. Systematic coding of exposures, with a blind analysis of job histories, was carried out by a team of experts in chemistry and occupational health.

RESULTS Significantly elevated odds ratios were observed for exposure to pyrolysis and combustion products [odds ratio (OR) 2.3, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.0-4.0] when the general referents were used and for cutting fluids (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.4) when tobacco consumption was adjusted for. The latter was highest among the category consisting of blue-collar and unskilled workers, supervisors, and agricultural workers (OR 4.6 95% CI 2.0-10.6), while the odds ratio for the other category was 0.8 (95% CI 0.3-2.7). An elevated odds ratio for exposure to inks was observed for the women (OR 14.0, 95% CI 1.8-106.5) on the basis of 14 exposed cases, but confounding factors could have been responsible for this result. Odds ratios for several other exposures (rubber: OR 5.7, nitrates: OR 8.2, coke dust: OR 3.5, meat additives: OR 3.8) were also elevated, but not significantly so when based on a small number of exposed cases.

CONCLUSION The observations of this investigation should be tested in future studies, in particular since exposures to agents such as cutting fluids or pyrolysis products are ubiquitous in industrial settings and may present an important public health hazard.