Risk of Selected Cancers due to Occupational Exposure to Chlorinated Solvents in a Case–Control Study in Montreal

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Objective:To evaluate the association between exposure to chlorinated solvents and cancer.Methods:We conducted a case–control study of occupational exposures and cancer in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, including 3730 cancer cases and 533 population controls. Occupational exposures were derived using a combination of subject-reported job history and expert assessment. We examined the associations between two chemical families and six chlorinated solvents with 11 sites of cancer.Results:The majority of the associations examined were null, although many were based on small numbers. We found two significantly elevated odds ratios (ORs), one between perchloroethylene and prostate cancer (OR = 4.3; 95% CI: 1.4 to 13) and another between trichloroethylene and melanoma (OR = 3.2; 95% CI: 1.0 to 9.9).Conclusions:There was little evidence of associations between chlorinated solvents and cancer. Limited power precludes strong inferences about absence of risk. We raise hypotheses about two possible associations: perchloroethylene with prostate cancer and trichloroethylene with melanoma.

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