A Case-Control Study of Lung Cancer Mortality in Four Rural Arizona Smelter Towns

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ABSTRACT.To investigate factors related to lung cancer mortality in four Arizona copper-smelter towns, the authors identified 142 lung cancer cases and 2 matched controls per case from decedent residents during 1979-1990. The authors obtained detailed information on lifetime residential, occupational, and smoking histories via structured telephone interviews with knowledgeable informants. The authors linked estimated historical environmental exposures to smelter emissions (based on atmospheric diffusion modeling of measured sulfur dioxide concentrations) with residential histories to derive individual profiles of residential exposure. The results of this study provided little evidence of a positive association between lung cancer and residential exposure to smelter emissions. Conditional logistic regression analysis revealed a statistically significant positive association between lung cancer and reported employment in copper mines and/or smelters, although specific factors associated with the apparently increased risk among these workers could not be identified in this community-based study.

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