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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995 Mar;112(3):437-40.

Diesel exhaust, diesel fumes, and laryngeal cancer.

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Division of Epidemiology, American Health Foundation, New York, NY 10017.


A hospital-based, case-control study of 235 male patients with laryngeal cancer and 205 male control patients was conducted to determine the effects of exposure to diesel engine exhaust and diesel fumes and the risk of laryngeal cancer. All patients were interviewed directly in the hospital with a standardized questionnaire that gathered information on smoking habits, alcohol consumption, employment history, and occupational exposures. Occupations that involve substantial exposure to diesel engine exhaust include mainly truck drivers, as well as mine workers, firefighters, and railroad workers. The odds ratio for laryngeal cancer associated with these occupations was 0.96 (95% confidence interval, 0.5 to 1.8). The odds ratio for self-reported exposure to diesel exhaust was 1.47 (95% confidence interval, 0.5 to 4.1). An elevated risk was found for self-reported exposure to diesel fumes (odds ratio, 6.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.8 to 22.6). No association was observed between jobs that entail exposure to diesel fumes, such as automobile mechanics, and the risk of laryngeal cancer. These results show that diesel engine exhaust is unrelated to laryngeal cancer risk. The different findings for self-reported diesel fumes and occupations that involve exposure to diesel fumes could reflect a recall bias.

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