Exposure to metal-working fluids in the automobile industry and the risk of male germ cell tumours

Bremen Institute for Prevention Research and Social Medicine, Bremen, Germany.
Occupational and environmental medicine (Impact Factor: 3.27). 11/2011; 69(3):224-6. DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2011-100070
Source: PubMed


In a previous analysis of a case-control study of testicular cancer nested in a cohort of automobile workers, we observed an increased risk for testicular cancer among workers who had ever been involved in occupational metal-cutting tasks. We investigated whether this risk increase was due to exposure to metal-working fluids (MWF).
Occupational exposure to MWF was assessed in detail using a job-specific questionnaire for metal-cutting work. We calculated ORs and associated 95% CIs individually matched for age (±2 years) and adjusted for a history of cryptorchidism by conditional logistic regression.
The prevalence of exposure to MWF was 39.8% among cases and 40.1% among controls. For total germ cell tumours and seminomas we did not observe risk increases for metal-cutting tasks or occupational exposure to MWF (OR 0.95; 95% CI 0.69 to 1.32 and OR 0.88; 95% CI 0.58 to 1.35, respectively). However, dermal exposure to oil-based MWF was associated with an increased risk for non-seminomatous testicular cancer. Dermal exposure to oil-based MWF for more than 5000 h showed particularly high risk estimates (OR 4.72; 95% CI 1.48 to 15.09).
Long-term dermal exposure to oil-based MWF was a risk factor for the development of non-seminomatous testicular germ cell cancer. Possible measures to reduce exposure include the introduction of engineering control measures such as venting or enclosing of machines, and enforcing the use of personal protective equipment during metal cutting.

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    • "However, metalworking occupations and associated exposures investigated varied importantly across studies (e.g. metal trimming, metal annealer, welding) [31,38,43,48,50–53], making comparisons difficult. Occupation as a precision metal worker was found to be associated with TGCT while occupation as metal machine operators or metal making workers were not [38]. "
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