The relation between exposure to cement dust and cancer was examined in a population of 546 cement workers and a reference population of 858 randomly sampled men of similar age and area of residence. In 1974 all men gave lifelong occupational and smoking histories; information on incidence of cancer in the period 1974-85 was obtained from the Danish Cancer Registry. No increased risk of overall cancer was found among cement workers. Among men with more than 20 years exposure to cement dust, 14 cases of respiratory cancer were observed (observed/expected (O/E) 1.52, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.90-2.57) when compared with all Danish men. Men with 1-20 years exposure had O/E 1.14 (95% CI 0.59-2.19) based on nine cases of cancer. After excluding all men with documented exposure to asbestos during employment in an asbestos cement factory no increased risk of overall cancer or respiratory cancer was found among cement workers compared with white collar workers from the local reference population, using a Cox regression model controlling for age and smoking habits. Relative risks were 0.5 (95% CI 0.1-1.5) and 1.0 (95% CI 0.4-2.6) for men with 1-20 and more than 20 years of exposure to cement dust respectively compared with white collar workers.
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