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Am J Ind Med. 2000 Dec;38(6):651-65.

Cancer risk in laboratory workers: an emphasis on biological research.

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1
Unit of Epidemiology for Cancer Prevention, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

At the end of the 1980s, several cancer clusters were observed in biological research laboratories. Over time, biological research and the technologies used have been diverse and have involved a wide range of mutagenic or carcinogenic chemical, physical and biological agents.

METHODS:

We reviewed 45 published studies on cancer risk among biological research personnel and workers in closely related fields, and numerous reports based on routinely collected data.

RESULTS:

Biological research could be associated with an elevated risk for pancreatic cancer, brain tumors, and certain hemopathies. A common limitation of available studies was low statistical power and the absence or inaccuracy of data on individual past exposure.

CONCLUSIONS:

Overall, this study suggests a low overall risk of cancer, albeit a higher risk may be suggested for cancers of the pancreas (risk ratios ranging from 0.5 to 6.3) and brain (0.7-9.4), and for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (0.6-51.5). We suggest ways in which multiple past exposures could be assessed more precisely and emphasize a pressing need to take into account known confounders.

PMID:
11071688
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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