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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters



Safeguard Magazine

It’s Academic—Painters risk bladder cancer

An overview of scientific research has concluded that occupational exposures in painters are causally associated with the risk of bladder cancer.

Researchers from France, the US and Italy helped collate the evidence which supported the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification of occupational exposure as a painter as “carcinogenic to humans” (group 1).

The classification had previously been based on painters’ increased risk of lung cancers, but there was now evidence that their occupational exposures could also cause bladder cancer.

The research Bladder cancer risk in painters: a meta-analysis (Occup Envriron Med 2010:67) had summarised all the literature to date reporting on the association between occupational exposure as a painter and bladder cancer. A number of studies demonstrated an increased risk of bladder cancer in painters.

The findings, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, noted that elevated bladder cancer risks persisted when adjusted for other occupational exposures.

“These results support the conclusion that occupational exposures in painters are causally associated with the risk of bladder cancer, after controlling for smoking, other occupational exposures, gender, study design and study location.”

Furthermore, exposure-response analysis suggested that the risk increased with the duration of employment.

The IARC estimated that bladder cancer was the ninth most common cancer diagnosed worldwide, with more than 330,000 cases each year and more than 130,000 deaths. Cigarette smoking was the most important risk factor, accounting for 66 percent of the new cases in men, and 30 percent in women

The study said because several million people were employed as painters worldwide, even a modest increase in their relative risk was remarkable.

A case-control study had also shown an increased risk of bladder cancer in artistic painters. Another had suggested increased risks of bladder cancer in painters with exposure to metal coatings, wood varnish or stains. Such products also contained solvents, fillers and pigments and usually entailed exposure scenarios such as sanding and other surface preparation.

For cancer control and prevention it would be important to design studies with more specific exposure assessments that quantified individual agents or classes of agents to identify the underlying carcinogenic agents encountered in painting, the study noted.

Thomson Reuters

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