Cancer mortality and wood dust exposure among participants in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study-II (CPS-II).

Stellman, Steven D.; Demers, Paul A.; Colin, Didier; Boffetta, Paolo

In 1994, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified wood dust as a human carcinogen, based on very strong evidence of a carcinogenic risk of sino-nasal cancer. Excesses of other cancers, including lung and stomach, have been reported among persons employed in wood industries or occupationally exposed to wood dust, but not as consistently. We investigated such possible associations using the mortality experience of 362,823 men enrolled in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study—II in 1982 and followed up for 6 years. Within this group, 45,399 men (12.5%) reported either employment in a wood-related occupation or exposure to wood dust or both. Among woodworkers, a small but significant excess risk was found for all causes of death (RR 1.17 (95% CI 1.11–1.24)) and for total malignancies (RR 1.17 (1.05–1.30)). Among men who reported exposure to wood dust, there was an elevated risk of total mortality (RR 1.07 (1.03–1.11)), total malignancies (RR 1.08 (1.01—1.15)), and lung cancer (RR 1.17 (1.04–1.31)). Among woodworkers, a significant trend (P = 0.02) of increasing risk of lung cancer with increasing duration of exposure was observed. An unexpected, significantly increased mortality from prostate cancer was observed in both wood-employed and wood-exposed, and a twofold increased risk of fatal brain cancer was seen among the former. Lung cancer mortality was especially high among woodworkers who also reported exposure to asbestos or formaldehyde, and it appears that exposure to these known carcinogens may partly explain the observed increased risks. Excess sino-nasal cancer was not observed, but the number of cases was small.


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American Journal of Industrial Medicine

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December 5, 2014