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Cancer risk in workers of the pulp and paper industry in Poland. A continued follow-up.

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Department of Epidemiology, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lódź, Poland.


A mortality cohort study was undertaken among Polish pulp and paper workers. This paper concentrates on neoplasms mortality among men and women employed continuously for at least one year in the factory producing sulphate pulp, paper board and paper products. A retrospective observation carried out till 31 December 1995 covered 10,460 workers employed during the years 1968-1990. The cohort accessibility was 99%. Cancer risk was evaluated on the basis of standardized mortality ratio (SMR) calculated according to the person-years method. The general population of Poland was the reference population. The results of a 23-year cohort observation, published earlier, showed a lowered overall mortality from all causes and from all malignant neoplasms, and a significant excess of death from peritoneum and prostate cancer among pulp mill male subcohort. The conclusion was drawn that a 'young' cohort and relatively short follow-up period might have affected the results. The results presented in this paper, obtained after further five years of observation showed in the male cohort an excess of deaths from cancer of respiratory tract and peritoneum (lung SMR = 122, nasal cavities SMR = 587, peritoneum SMR = 562). An approximate correction for smoking habits resulted in only 4 decreased risk estimates for lung cancer, indicating a small positive confounding effect of smoking in this material. In female cohort an excess of brain cancer was found (SMR = 355). Only the excess mortality from cancers of nose, lung and peritoneum was coherent with the exposure to higher concentrations of wood dust, pulp, paper and board dust. It may support a hypothesis that these factors as well as dust pollutants, not yet identified in this study, may be considered as one of the risk factors contributing to the incidence of neoplasms of these sites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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