Mortality from Solid Cancers among Workers in Formaldehyde Industries

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
American Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 5.23). 06/2004; 159(12):1117-30. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwh174
Source: PubMed


In industrial workers, formaldehyde exposure has been associated with cancer of the nasal cavities, nasopharynx, prostate, lung, and pancreas; however, these associations are inconsistent and remain controversial. Animals exposed to formaldehyde show excesses of nasal cancer. In an extended follow-up of a large cohort of formaldehyde-exposed workers, the authors evaluated mortality from solid cancers (1,921 deaths) among 25,619 workers (865,708 person-years) employed in 10 US formaldehyde-producing or -using facilities through 1994. Exposure assessment included quantitative estimates of formaldehyde exposure. Standardized mortality ratios and relative risks were calculated. Compared with that for the US population, mortality from solid cancers was significantly lower than expected among subjects exposed and nonexposed to formaldehyde (standardized mortality ratios = 0.91 and 0.78, respectively). Relative risks for nasopharyngeal cancer (nine deaths) increased with average exposure intensity, cumulative exposure, highest peak exposure, and duration of exposure to formaldehyde (p-trend = 0.066, 0.025, <0.001, and 0.147, respectively). Formaldehyde exposure did not appear to be associated with lung (744 deaths), pancreas (93 deaths), or brain (62 deaths) cancer. Although relative risks for prostate cancer (145 deaths) were elevated for some measures of formaldehyde exposure, the trend was inconsistent. In this cohort of formaldehyde-industry workers, some evidence was found of an exposure-response relation with mortality from nasopharyngeal cancer (based on small numbers) but not for cancers of the pancreas, brain, lung, or prostate.

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    • "Air pollution has been one of the key points of environmental workers both at home and abroad with the development of " person is the core " (Hauptmann, 2004). From the view of human breath exposure, the human living environment can be divided into these three important parts: indoor environment, outdoor atmosphere, and transportation microenvironment. "
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    • "Since then, hundreds of reports have been published focusing on the health effects of formaldehyde inhalation exposure (IARC, 2012; NTP, 2011). Formaldehyde inhalation exposure has been associated with several detrimental health effects including increased risk of childhood asthma (McGwin et al., 2010), upper respiratory tract infections (Lyapina et al., 2004), nasopharyngeal cancer (Hauptmann et al., 2004), and leukemia (Beane Freeman et al., 2009). Formaldehyde is currently classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, 2012) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP, 2011). "
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