Mortality and cancer incidence in ammonium perfluorooctanoate production workers

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate mortality and cancer incidence in a cohort of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) exposed workers.

Methods

We linked a combined cohort (n=9027) of employees from APFO and non-APFO production facilities in Minnesota to the National Death Index and to cancer registries of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Industrial hygiene data and expert evaluation were used to create a task-based job exposure matrix to estimate APFO exposure. Standardised mortality ratios were estimated using Minnesota population rates. HRs and 95% CIs for time-dependent cumulative APFO exposure were estimated with an extended Cox model. A priori outcomes of interest included cancers of the liver, pancreas, testes, kidney, prostate and breast, and mortality from cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and chronic renal diseases.

Results

Mortality rates in the APFO-exposed cohort were at or below the expected, compared with Minnesota. The HR for dying from the cancer and non-cancer outcomes of interest did not show an association with APFO exposure. Similarly, there was little evidence that the incident cancers were associated with APFO exposure. Compared to the non-exposed population, modestly elevated, but quite imprecise HRs were observed in the higher-exposure quartiles for bladder cancer (HR=1.66, 95% CI 0.86 to 3.18) and pancreatic cancer (HR=1.36, 95% CI 0.59 to 3.11). No association was observed between APFO exposure and kidney, prostate or breast cancers.

Conclusions

This analysis did not support an association between occupational APFO exposure and the evaluated health endpoints, however, the study had limited power to evaluate some conditions of interest.

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