Lung cancer and occupation: a New Zealand cancer registry-based case-control study

Corbin, M., McLean, D., Mannetje, A., Dryson, E., Walls, C., McKenzie, F., Maule, M., Cheng, S., Cunningham, C., Kromhout, H., Blair, A., Pearce, N. Lung cancer and occupation: a New Zealand cancer registry-based case-control study. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2011; 54(2):89-101.

BACKGROUND: There are many proven and suspected occupational causes of lung cancer, which will become relatively more important over time, as smoking prevalence decreases.

METHODS: We interviewed 457 cases aged 20-75 years notified to the New Zealand Cancer Registry during 2007-2008, and 792 population controls. We collected information on demographic details, potential confounders, and employment history. Associations were estimated using logistic regression adjusted for gender, age, ethnicity, smoking, and socio-economic status.

RESULTS: Among occupations of a priori interest, elevated odds ratios (ORs) were observed for sawmill, wood panel and related wood-processing plant operators (OR 4.63; 95% CI 1.05-20.29), butchers (OR 8.77, 95% CI 1.06-72.55), rubber and plastics products machine operators (4.27; 1.16-15.66), heavy truck drivers (2.24; 1.19-4.21) and workers in petroleum, coal, chemical and associated product manufacturing (1.80; 1.11-2.90); non-significantly elevated risks were also observed for loggers (4.67; 0.81-27.03), welders and flame-cutters (2.50; 0.86-7.25), pressers (5.74; 0.96-34.42), and electric and electronic equipment assemblers (3.61; 0.96-13.57). Several occupations and industries not of a priori interest also showed increased risks, including nursing associate professionals (5.45; 2.29-12.99), enrolled nurses (7.95; 3.10-20.42), care givers (3.47; 1.40-8.59), plant and machine operators and assemblers (1.61; 1.20-2.16), stationary machine operators and assemblers (1.67; 1.22-2.28), food and related products processing machine operators (1.98; 1.23-3.19), laborers and related elementary service workers (1.45; 1.05-2.00), manufacturing (1.34; 1.02-1.77), car retailing (3.08; 1.36-6.94), and road freight transport (3.02; 1.45-6.27).

CONCLUSIONS: Certain occupations and industries have increased lung cancer risks in New Zealand, including wood workers, metal workers, meat workers, textile workers and drivers.

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