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Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Mar;116(3):370-4. doi: 10.1289/ehp.10841.

Temporal variation in the association between benzene and leukemia mortality.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA. david.richardson@unc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Benzene is a human carcinogen. Exposure to benzene occurs in occupational and environmental settings.

OBJECTIVE:

I evaluated variation in benzene-related leukemia with age at exposure and time since exposure.

METHODS:

I evaluated data from a cohort of 1,845 rubber hydrochloride workers. Benzene exposure-leukemia mortality trends were estimated by applying proportional hazards regression methods. Temporal variation in the impact of benzene on leukemia rates was assessed via exposure time windows and fitting of a multistage cancer model.

RESULTS:

The association between leukemia mortality and benzene exposures was of greatest magnitude in the 10 years immediately after exposure [relative rate (RR) at 10 ppm-years = 1.19; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.10-1.29]; the association was of smaller magnitude in the period 10 to < 20 years after exposure (RR at 10 ppm-years = 1.05; 95% CI, 0.97-1.13); and there was no evidence of association > or = 20 years after exposure. Leukemia was more strongly associated with benzene exposures accrued at > or = 45 years of age (RR at 10 ppm-years = 1.11; 95% CI, 1.04-1.17) than with exposures accrued at younger ages (RR at 10 ppm-years = 1.01; 95% CI, 0.92-1.09). Jointly, these temporal effects can be efficiently modeled as a multistage process in which benzene exposure affects the penultimate stage in disease induction.

CONCLUSIONS:

Further attention should be given to evaluating the susceptibility of older workers to benzene-induced leukemia.

KEYWORDS:

Ohio; benzene; cohort study; leukemia; mortality

PMID:
18335105
PMCID:
PMC2265049
DOI:
10.1289/ehp.10841
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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