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Cohort mortality study among French asphalt workers.

Abstract : BACKGROUND: In conjunction with the European cohort study among asphalt workers coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), we studied the mortality of 15,011 French men who were followed for 17 years for a total of 175,062 persons-years. This group contained 2,506 subjects who had ever been employed as asphalt workers: they contributed 30,692 person-years of risk. A reference group was composed of 6,675 subjects (i.e., 61,856 persons-years) who had been employed only in building or ground construction. METHODS: Mortality ratios standardized for age and period were computed with their 95% confidence intervals (CI) from the age and period mortality rates of all French men for the years covered by the study (1979-1996). We also compared the mortality of exposed workers and the reference group with Poisson regression models after adjustment for age, calendar period, and either duration of employment or length of follow-up. RESULTS: Mortality from lung cancer was equivalent to the expected rate [SMR = 1.01 95% CI (0.6-1.6)], but was 40% greater than among the non-exposed reference group [RR = 1.4 95% CI (0.7-2.8)]. We also found an excess of gastrointestinal cancers, especially of the esophagus [SMR = 1.94, 95% CI (0.9-3.6)] and stomach [SMR = 2.2, 95% CI (0.8-4.7)]. Comparison with the internal reference group confirmed these findings, especially for stomach cancer [RR = 2.8, 95% CI (0.7-11.4)]. CONCLUSIONS: Although our results are not statistically significant, they suggest that road-paving workers may have a slightly higher rate of lung cancer and a moderately higher rate of stomach cancer than their non-exposed counterparts. The excess of lung cancer may be due to potential confounding factors, including the occupational risk factor of coal tar exposure and the lifestyle risk factor of smoking. A nested case-control study is under way that will make it possible to control for smoking and other potential carcinogenic exposures; this is necessary before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 5:34:29 PM
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Isabelle Stücker, Djamila Meguellati, Paolo Boffetta, Sylvie Cénée, Dominique Margelin, et al.. Cohort mortality study among French asphalt workers.. Am J Ind Med, 2003, 43, pp.58-68. ⟨10.1002/ajim.10140⟩. ⟨inserm-00086498⟩



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