Colorectal Polyp Incidence among Polypropylene Manufacturing Workers

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To follow up earlier findings of increased colorectal cancer and polyp risk among a group of Texas polypropylene manufacturing workers, a second company-sponsored colorectal cancer screening program was conducted. Ninety-four (64%) of the 147 male workers negative for polyps in the first screening were rescreened. Age- and examiner-adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were modestly elevated for polypropylene manufacturing workers compared with patients screened at the same clinic for total (IRR = 1.31; 90% confidence interval [CI] = 0.84 to 2.03) and adenomatous (IRR = 1.80; 90% CI = 0.68 to 4.78) polyps. However, risk of adenomas among the highest exposed group (early term process/mechanical workers: IRR = 1.77; 90% CI = 0.51 to 6.18) was similar to risk in the least-exposed group (engineer/chemist/administrative workers: IRR = 2.02; 90% CI = 0.56 to 7.31). The modest, nonsignificant excesses and the similarity in risk across job categories does not suggest an occupationally related risk, although small numbers and potential biases preclude making definitive conclusions.

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