Occupational exposure to chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons and risk of astrocytic brain cancer

Authors

  • Dr. Ellen F. Heineman PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Occupational Studies Section, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
    • Occupational Studies Section, National Cancer Institute, 6130 Executive Boulevard, Room 418, Rockville, MD 20892
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  • Pierluigi Cocco MD,

    1. Occupational Studies Section, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
    Current affiliation:
    1. Istituto di Medicina del Lavoro, via S. Giorgio 12, 09124 Cagliari, Italy
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  • Manuel R. Gómez MS, CIH,

    1. Occupational Studies Section, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
    Current affiliation:
    1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Science Advisory Board, 401 M Street SW, (A-101F), Washington, DC 20460
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  • Mustafa Dosemeci PhD,

    1. Occupational Studies Section, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
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  • Patricia A. Stewart MS, CIH,

    1. Occupational Studies Section, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
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  • Richard B. Hayes,

    1. Occupational Studies Section, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
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  • Shelia Hoar Zahm ScD,

    1. Occupational Studies Section, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
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  • Terry L. Thomas PhD,

    1. Occupational Studies Section, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
    Current affiliation:
    1. Office of Epidemiology and Health Surveillance, U.S. Department of Energy, EH-422, GTN, Washington, DC 20585
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  • Aaron Blair PhD

    1. Occupational Studies Section, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
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Abstract

Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAHs) were evaluated as potential risk factors for astrocytic brain tumors. Job-exposure matrices for six individual CAHs and for the general class of organic solvents were applied to data from a case-control study of brain cancer among white men. The matrices indicated whether the CAHs were likely to have been used in each industry and occupation by decade (1920-1980), and provided estimates of probability and intensity of exposure for “exposed” industries and occupations. Cumulative exposure indices were calculated for each subject.

Associations of astrocytic brain cancer were observed with likely exposure to carbon tetrachloride, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene, but were strongest for methylene chloride. Exposure to chloroform or methyl chloroform showed little indication of an association with brain cancer. Risk of astrocytic brain tumors increased with probability and average intensity of exposure, and with duration of employment in jobs considered exposed to methylene chloride, but not with a cumulative exposure score. These trends could not be explained by exposures to the other solvents.

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