Parental occupation and intracranial neoplasms of childhood: Anecdotal evidence from a unique occupational cancer cluster

Authors

  • Dr. J. R. Wilkins III DrPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus
    • Dept. Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, 320 West 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Judy A. McLaughlin MS,

    1. Department of Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus
    Current affiliation:
    1. 206 Lincoln Place, Urbana, OH 43078
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Thomas H. Sinks PhD,

    1. Department of Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus
    Current affiliation:
    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Edward J. Kosnik MD

    1. Department of Neurosurgery, Columbus Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Near the end of the data-collection phase of a case-control interview study of environmental factors and childhood brain tumors, an unusual space-time cluster was revealed. Not only had six genetically unrelated children been diagnosed with a primary intracranial tumor in a recent 2.4 year period in a rural county in Ohio, but each child had one parent employed by the same company (two mothers, four fathers). This represents an observed/expected ratio > 70 (p < 0.001). All tumors were microscopically confirmed, and all case parents worked at the facility in question for at least 1 year prior to conception, during the index pregnancy, and for at least 6 months after birth. The place of parental employment was an electronics firm (Standard Industrial Classification [SIC] group number 367, electronic components and accessories), where more than 100 chemical compounds are used by the company in a manufacturing process. Results of the cluster investigation are described, including a description of the case series. This cancer cluster is unique in that the index case series is composed of the offspring of workers, not the workers themselves.

Ancillary