Occup Environ Med 57:264-267 doi:10.1136/oem.57.4.264
  • Paper

Cancers in concrete workers: results of a cohort study of 33 668 workers

  1. Anders Knutssona,
  2. Lena Damberb,
  3. Bengt Järvholma
  1. aOccupational Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, bDepartment of Oncology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  1. Dr A Knutsson, Occupational Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University Hospital, S-90185 Umeå, Sweden email anders.knutsson{at}
  • Accepted 29 November 1999


OBJECTIVES To study cancer morbidity patterns in concrete workers.

METHODS A cohort of 33 503 concrete workers was enrolled in the study from 1971–86. The average duration of follow up was 19.4 years (582 225 person-years). The workers' cancer morbidity was compared with the morbidity of the general population.

RESULTS A total of 3572 incident cancers were observed. Significantly increased standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) were found for all malignant neoplasms (SIR 107; 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 103 to 110), cancer of the lip (SIR 179; 95%CI 134 to 234), cancer of the stomach (SIR 139; 95%CI 122 to 158), cancer of the lung (SIR 125; 95%CI 114 to 137), and cancer of the prostate (SIR 108; 95%CI 101 to 116). Reduced risk was found for cancer of the large intestine (SIR 80; 95%CI 69 to 93) and cancer of the testis (SIR 50; 95%CI 26 to 87). Smoking was more prevalent among the concrete workers than in the general population (50% v 35%).

CONCLUSION The study has shown a slightly increased overall risk of cancer among concrete workers. The increased risk of lung cancer could entirely be due to differences in smoking habits between concrete workers and the general population. There is a possibility that the smoking also has contributed to the increased risks of stomach cancer and lip cancer, but occupational factors may have contributed to these cancer sites.