Cancer Risks in Aluminum Reduction Plant Workers: A Review

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Objective and Methods:This review examines epidemiological evidence relating to cancers in the primary aluminum industry where most of what is known relates to Söderberg operations or to mixed Söderberg/prebake operations.Results and Conclusions:Increased lung and bladder cancer risks have been reported in Söderberg workers from several countries, but not in all. After adjustment for smoking, these cancer risks still increase with cumulative exposure to benzo(a)pyrene, used as an index of coal tar pitch volatiles exposure. Limited evidence has been gathered in several cohorts for an increased risk of tumors at other sites, including stomach, pancreas, rectum/rectosigmoid junction, larynx, buccal cavity/pharynx, kidney, brain/nervous system, prostate, and lymphatic/hematopoietic tissues (in particular non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin disease, and leukemia). Nevertheless, for most of these tumor sites, the relationship with specific exposures has not been demonstrated clearly and further follow-up of workers is warranted.

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