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Occup Environ Med. 2014 Jun;71 Suppl 1:A71. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102362.221.

0084 A Case-Control Study of Occupational Exposure to Metalworking Fluids and Bladder Cancer Risk among Men.

Author information

  • 1Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA.
  • 2Stewart Exposure Assessments, LLC, Arlington, VA, USA.
  • 3Korea National Open University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  • 4Vermont Cancer Registry, Burlington, VT, USA.
  • 5Maine Cancer Registry, Augusta, ME, USA.
  • 6Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, NH, USA.
  • 7New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Concord, NH, USA.



Metalworking has been associated with bladder cancer risk in many studies. Metalworking fluids (MWFs) are suspected as the putative exposure, but epidemiologic data are limited. Based on state-of-the-art, quantitative exposure assessment, we examined MWF exposure and bladder cancer risk in the New England Bladder Cancer Study.


Male cases (n = 895) and population controls (n = 1031) provided occupational histories and information on use of each of three MWF types: (1) straight (mineral oil, additives), (2) soluble (mineral oil, water, additives), and (3) synthetic (water, organics, additives) or semi-synthetic (soluble/synthetic hybrid), in response to exposure-oriented modules administered during personal interviews. We estimated the probability, frequency, and intensity of exposure to each MWF type and, if probability exceeded 50%, cumulative exposure. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusting for smoking and other risk factors.


Risk was increased for men reporting use of straight MWFs (OR=1.7, 95% CI=1.1-2.8), with a significant trend with increasing cumulative exposure (p = 0.024). Use of soluble MWFs conferred a 50% elevated risk (95% CI=0.96-2.5). ORs were nonsignificantly elevated for synthetic MWFs, based on small numbers. Men who were never metalworkers, but held jobs with possible exposure to mineral oil, had a 40% increased risk (95% CI=1.1-1.8).


In the most comprehensive assessment of MWF exposure in a bladder cancer case-control study, exposure to straight MWFs significantly increased bladder cancer risk, as did employment in non-metalworking jobs with possible mineral oil exposure. Our results strengthen prior evidence for mineral oil as a bladder carcinogen.

© 2014, Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to

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