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Are occupational, hobby, or lifestyle exposures associated with Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukaemia?


OBJECTIVES To investigate a broad range of occupational, hobby, and lifestyle exposures, suggested as risk factors for Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

METHODS A case-control study, comprising 255 Ph+CML patients from southern Sweden and matched controls, was conducted. Individual data on work tasks, hobbies, and lifestyle exposures were obtained by telephone interviews. Occupational hygienists assessed occupational and hobby exposures for each subject individually. Also, occupational titles were obtained from national registries, and group level exposure—that is, the exposure proportion for each occupational title—was assessed with a job exposure matrix. The effects of 11 exposures using individual data and two exposures using group data (organic solvents and animal dust) were estimated.

RESULTS For the individual data on organic solvents, an effect was found for moderate or high intensity of exposure (odds ratio (OR) 3.4, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.1 to 11) and for long duration (15–20 years) of exposure (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1 to 4.0). By contrast, the group data showed no association (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.27 to 1.8; moderate or high intensity versus no exposure). For extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs), only individual data were available. An association with long occupational exposure to EMFs was found (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.5). However, no effect of EMF intensity was indicated. No significant effects of benzene, gasoline or diesel, or tobacco smoking were found. OR estimates below unity were suggested for personal use of hair dye and for agricultural exposures.

CONCLUSIONS Associations between exposure to organic solvents and EMFs, and Ph+CML were indicated but were not entirely consistent.

  • risk factors
  • epidemiology
  • case-control study

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