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Lancet. 1977 Jul 9;2(8028):76-8.

Leukaemia in benzene workers.


Workers occupationally exposed to benzene in 1940-49 were followed for vital status up to 1975. In comparison with two control populations, a significant (P less than 0-002) excess of leukaemia was observed. A five-old excessive risk of all leukaemias and a ten-fold excess of deaths from myeloid and monocytic leukaemias combined are demonstrated in the study population compared with controls. These figures under-estimate the true leukaemia risk to benzene-exposed workers, because follow-up is only 75% complete and the untraced 25% of the study population were all regarded, in the statistical analysis, as being alive at the end of the study period. The environment of the workers in the study population was not contaminated with solvents other than benzene, and existing records indicate that the benzene levels themselves were generally below the limits recommended at the time of their measurement.

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