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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1987 Aug;79(2):217-22.

The National Bladder Cancer Study: employment in the chemical industry.


The relationship between bladder cancer employment in the chemical industry was assessed in a study of 2,982 incident cases and 5,782 population controls. There were 190 cases and 369 controls who had ever been employed in the chemical industry [odds ratio (OR) = 1.0; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.8, 1.2]. Employment in the production of organic chemicals was associated with a 1.3-fold increased risk among men (95% CI = 0.8, 2.1). Risk increased with duration of employment, reaching an OR of 2.4 for 20 or more years (chi for trend = 1.57; P = .06). Women who had worked in the plastics industry had a 3.3-fold increased bladder cancer risk. Within the plastics and rubber industry, increased risks for bladder cancer were found for men in mixing, filtering, grinding, and other dusty operations (OR = 4.6; 95% CI = 1.0, 20.4) and men in heat-associated operations (OR = 2.8; 95% CI = 0.5, 15.3). A 1.4-fold risk among men in agricultural chemicals was attributable to risks in the pesticides subdivision (OR = 2.3; 95% CI = 0.6, 8.2). Men performing dusty operations (i.e., mixing, filtering, sifting, grinding, and crushing) in any industry had an OR of 1.4 (95% CI = 0.8, 2.7). Despite the large number of study subjects, few statistically significant findings were observed and should be evaluated with consideration of the large number of comparisons made in the analysis. The statistical power of case-control studies to detect risks associated with particular occupational exposures is limited by the small proportion of the population employed in any specific occupation or industry.

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