Occupational Exposure to Solvents and the Risk of Lymphomas

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Abstract

Background:

A number of studies have shown possible associations between occupational exposures, particularly solvents, and lymphomas. The present investigation aimed to evaluate the association between exposure to solvents and lymphomas (Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin) in a large population-based, multicenter, case–control study in Italy.

Methods:

All newly diagnosed cases of malignant lymphoma in men and women age 20 to 74 years in 1991–1993 were identified in 8 areas in Italy. The control group was formed by a random sample of the general population in the areas under study stratified by sex and 5-year age groups. We interviewed 1428 non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases, 304 Hodgkin disease cases, and 1530 controls. Experts examined the questionnaire data and assessed a level of probability and intensity of exposure to a range of chemicals.

Results:

Those in the medium/high level of exposure had an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma with exposure to toluene (odds ratio = 1.8; 95% confidence interval = 1.1–2.8), xylene 1.7 (1.0–2.6), and benzene 1.6 (1.0–2.4). Subjects exposed to all 3 aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, and xylene; medium/high intensity compared with none) had an odds ratio of 2.1 (1.1–4.3). We observed an increased risk for Hodgkin disease for those exposed to technical solvents (2.7; 1.2–6.5) and aliphatic solvents (2.7; 1.2–5.7).

Conclusion:

This study suggests that aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons are a risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphomas, and provides preliminary evidence for an association between solvents and Hodgkin disease.

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