A cohort study among 4734 employees at an English glass fibre plant previously reported no excess of lung cancer mortality either overall or when examined in broad occupational groups. To investigate occupation in more detail, and to test the hypothesis that processes producing or using finer (respirable) fibres may be related to a higher risk of lung cancer, a nested case-control study has now been carried out. Included are 73 cases of lung cancer and 506 matched controls, for whom jobs held and processes worked on have been blindly recorded in more detail than for the cohort study. Workers known to have been employed on processes containing respirable fibres had a relative risk of lung cancer of 1.2 (95% confidence interval 0.7-2.0) compared with other workers. There was no evidence of a relationship of lung cancer to fibre diameter, duration of exposure, or time since first exposure. The results by broad occupational group were similar to those of the cohort study, and although some of the many detailed occupational categories examined had significantly raised relative risks, these did not appear to be related to exposure to respirable glass fibre. Although the study has not indicated a differential risk of lung cancer among workers exposed to finer diameter glass fibres, the exposure levels were low and the number of cases small.
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