In 2006, IARC found limited evidence in humans and sufficient evidence in animals that tungsten carbide (WC) with cobalt binder (WCCo) acted as a lung carcinogen (Group 2A). A Swedish historical cohort study was established as part of the international cohort. Three Swedish sites are included, contributing with 3000 persons and 200 exposure measurements, 7000 persons and 1000 exposure measurements, 7000 persons and 500 exposure measurements, respectively. >From the employment records, individual personal id-numbers, date of birth, sex, first and last date of job specific employment periods are extracted. The cohort will be linked to our national Causes of Death register. Cause of death will be established according to ICD 6–10 and compared to national and if possible regional registers. We will establish a measurement database and a site questionnaire for each company. In our analysis we will investigate the total and cause-specific mortality experience of current and former workers as compared to corresponding national and regional populations and internally-derived control groups, with adjustment for potential confounding factors and focus on lung cancer; characterise the past and current working environment of subjects relative to work area, job title/function and potential for exposure to WCCo, as well as the component exposures: tungsten, tungsten carbide (without cobalt), carbon black, and cobalt; and determine the relationship between level and duration of exposures and lung cancer mortality with adjustment for potential co-exposures, including information obtained on tobacco smoking habits via a nested case-control study.
The epidemiological and exposure assessment components of the study are coordinated by the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois at Chicago, respectively. The study is funded by the International Tungsten Industry Association. Progress in the Swedish studies will be reported separately by us.
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