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Online ISSN: 1097-0274    Print ISSN: 0271-3586
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume 39, Issue 2, 2001. Pages: 133-144

Published Online: 2 Feb 2001

Published 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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 Article
Lung cancer case-control study of beryllium workers*
Wayne T. Sanderson, PhD *, Elizabeth M. Ward, PhD, Kyle Steenland, PhD, Martin R. Petersen, PhD
Industrywide Studies Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226
email: Wayne T. Sanderson (wts1@cdc.gov)

*Correspondence to Wayne T. Sanderson, Industrywide Studies Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226.

**This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

Keywords
beryllium; lung cancer; case-control study; lagged exposure; smoking confounding

Abstract

Background
Cohort mortality studies have found elevated lung cancer mortality among beryllium-exposed workers, but none evaluated the association between beryllium exposure level and lung cancer risk. A nested case-control study of lung cancer within a beryllium processing plant was conducted to investigate the relationship between level of beryllium exposure and lung cancer.

Methods
Lung cancer cases were identified by mortality follow-up through 1992 of a cohort of male workers at a beryllium alloy production plant. Each of 142 lung cancer cases was age-race-matched to five controls. Calendar-time-specific beryllium exposure estimates were made for every job in the plant and were used to estimate workers' cumulative, average, and maximum exposures. The potential confounding effects of smoking were also evaluated.

Results
Lung cancer cases had shorter tenures and lower lifetime cumulative beryllium exposures than controls, but higher average and maximum exposures. However, after applying a 10- and 20-year lag, exposure metrics were higher for cases. Odds ratios in analyses lagged 20 years were significantly elevated for those with higher exposure compared to the lowest exposure category. Significant positive trends were seen with the log of the exposure metrics. Smoking did not appear to confound exposure-response analyses.

Conclusions
Increased lung cancer among workers with higher lagged beryllium exposures and lack of evidence for confounding by cigarette smoking, provide further evidence that beryllium is a human lung carcinogen. Am. J. Ind. Med. 39:133-144, 2001. Published 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Accepted: 1 September 2000

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1002/1097-0274(200102)39:2<133::AID-AJIM1001>3.0.CO;2-7  About DOI


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