Leukemia risk associated with low-level benzene exposure

Glass, Deborah, Gray, Chris, Jolley, Damien J., Gibbons, Carl, Sim, Malcolm R., Fritschi, Lin, Adams, Geoffrey, Bisby, John and Manuell, Richard 2003, Leukemia risk associated with low-level benzene exposure, Epidemiology, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 569-577.

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Title Leukemia risk associated with low-level benzene exposure
Author(s) Glass, Deborah
Gray, Chris
Jolley, Damien J.
Gibbons, Carl
Sim, Malcolm R.
Fritschi, Lin
Adams, Geoffrey
Bisby, John
Manuell, Richard
Journal name Epidemiology
Volume number 14
Issue number 5
Start page 569
End page 577
Publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Place of publication Baltimore, Md.
Publication date 2003-09
ISSN 1044-3983
1531-5487
Keyword(s) benzene
occupational exposure
leukemia
lymphoma
multiple myeloma
petroleum industry
Summary Background: Men who were part of an Australian petroleum industry cohort had previously been found to have an excess of lympho-hematopoietic cancer. Occupational benzene exposure is a possible cause of this excess.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study of lympho-hematopoietic cancer nested within the existing cohort study to examine the role of benzene exposure. Cases identified between 1981 and 1999 (N = 79) were age-matched to 5 control subjects from the cohort. We estimated each subject's benzene exposure using occupational histories, local site-specific information, and an algorithm using Australian petroleum industry monitoring data.

Results: Matched analyses showed that the risk of leukemia was increased at cumulative exposures above 2 ppm-years and with intensity of exposure of highest exposed job over 0.8 ppm. Risk increased with higher exposures; for the 13 case-sets with greater than 8 ppm-years cumulative exposure, the odds ratio was 11.3 (95% confidence interval = 2.85-45.1). The risk of leukemia was not associated with start date or duration of employment. The association with type of workplace was explained by cumulative exposure. There is limited evidence that short-term high exposures carry more risk than the same amount of exposure spread over a longer period. The risks for acute nonlymphocytic leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia were raised for the highest exposed workers. No association was found between non-Hodgkin lymphoma or multiple myeloma and benzene exposure, nor between tobacco or alcohol consumption and any of the cancers.

Conclusions: We found an excess risk of leukemia associated with cumulative benzene exposures and benzene exposure intensities that were considerably lower than reported in previous studies. No evidence was found of a threshold cumulative exposure below which there was no risk.


Language eng
Field of Research 111706 Epidemiology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30008597

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