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Am J Ind Med. 1995 Sep;28(3):385-98.

Pancreatic cancer among workers processing synthetic resins.

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  • 1State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health & Addiction Services, Hartford, USA.


A nested case-control study was conducted to investigate whether an excess of pancreatic cancer, identified in a cohort mortality study with follow-up from 1946 through 1988, was associated with potential workplace exposures at a New Jersey plastics manufacturing and research and development facility. The study population included 28 male pancreatic cancer cases and 140 randomly selected controls, matched on year of birth and at risk (alive) at the time of the case death. Using plant work history records, department assignments for the two groups were compared according to duration and time since first assignment. Workers assigned to a work area that processed vinyl resins and polyethylene (PE) were shown to be at increased risk. Men assigned more than 16 years to this department had a significantly increased risk ratio of 7.15 (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 1.28-40.1). No excess was seen with shorter duration assignments. Seven of the nine cases began working in this area in the 1940s. Average latency was 32 years, and all but three cases worked 20 years or more in this unit. Over the study period, significant exposure-related process changes occurred, in addition to the use of numerous chemical additives. Although vinyl and PE processing operations could not be analyzed separately, the pancreatic cancer excess is more likely to be related to vinyl processing. Identification of a causative agent or combination of agents would require investigations with more detailed exposure information.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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