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Environ Health Perspect. 1996 Dec;104 Suppl 6:1437-41.

Risk of benzene-induced leukemia predicted from the Pliofilm cohort.

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ICF Kaiser International, Ruston, Louisiana 71270, USA.


This report updates the risk assessment by Crump and Allen for benzene-induced leukemia that was based on a cohort exposed to benzene in the manufacture of Pliofilm. The present study derives new risk estimates using data from follow-up through 1987 (whereas the earlier assessment only had follow-up available through 1978) and uses new exposure information for this cohort developed by Paustenbach et al. that accounts for a number of factors that were unknown or not fully evaluated in earlier exposure assessments. There was a significant excess of acute myelocytic or acute monocytic leukemia (AMML) (8-10 observed, 1.61 expected) in this cohort, and this end point also exhibited a strong dose-response trend. No other types of lymphatic or hematopoietic cancer were clearly linked to benzene exposure. Quantitative risk estimates were robust with respect to whether AMML or all leukemia was being modeled. They were also robust with respect whether the Paustenbach et al. or Crump and Allen exposure estimates were used (differences in risk estimates of no greater than 2-fold) as long as linear dose-response models were applied. However, whereas the Crump and Allen exposures predicted a linear dose response, the Paustenbach et al. exposures predicted a quadratic dose response. This departure from linearity was borderline significant (p = 0.08). Estimates of additional lifetime from 45 years of occupational exposure (lifetime exposure) to 1 ppm derived using he Paustenbach et al. exposure matrix and best-fitting (quadratic) models ranged from 0.020 to 0.036 per thousand, whereas corresponding estimates based on a linear dose response ranged from 1.6 to 3.1 per thousand.

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