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Keywords:

  • malignant lymphoma;
  • multiple myeloma;
  • occupational exposure;
  • farming;
  • chlorinated compounds;
  • dioxins;
  • cancer registry

Abstract

The Swedish Cancer Environment Register (CER) is a linkage of census data (e.g., on occupations) with the Swedish Cancer Register. It has been used in different studies to generate hypotheses on occupational risk factors for malignant tumors. In this study the risk for malignant lymphoma and multiple myeloma in occupations with potential exposure to phenoxyacetic acids or other related substances were investigated. An increased standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of 1.3 for multiple myeloma was verified in farmers (no. of cases = 335). This finding applied to both sexes, and the SIR increased over successive time periods. Regarding malignant lymphoma an increased SIR of 1.2 was found in farmers (no. = 227) for the latest time period studied (i. e. 1979–1984). When non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was studied separately, an increased risk (SIR = 1.2) was found only in carpenters (no. = 149), whereas for Hodgkin's disease, sawmill workers (no. = 10) had an increased SIR of 2.1. Physicians also had an elevated risk for malignant lymphoma. A major shortcoming in register studies such as CER is that no individual exposure data on different agents are available. Lack of an association between an occupation and a specific malignant disease, therefore, may not be taken as evidence that persons within that occupation are not at increased risk for that disease.