Objectives To compare cancer patterns in lead exposed workers with the Korean general population, and to explore the relationship between cancer and lead exposure in an occupational setting.
Methods Using from the Korean annual medical surveillance for exposure to lead, a cohort comprising 75,184 lead exposed workers working between January 1st, 2000 and December 31st, 2004 was compiled. This cohort was merged with the Korea National Central Cancer Registry (KNCCR) in order to evaluate the cancer morbidity for these workers between 2000 and 2008.
Results Therewere 793 cases cancer and, the incidence of stomach cancer (SIR 1.17, 95% CI = 1.01–1.36) was found to be elevated in lead chromate workers. Excesses were observed for kidney (184.108.40.206–3.88) and bladder cancers (220.127.116.11–4.58) in lead exposed workers ≥20 years of job duration, kidney cancer (18.104.22.168–4.18)in workers with ≥10 ug/dl of blood lead level and lung cancer in female workers with ≥10 ug/dl blood lead level.
Conclusions Our study showed excess of lung cancer in female workers, stomach cancer in lead chromate exposed workers and a possible dose-response relationship between d kidney cancers and lead exposure.
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