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Lymphohaematopoeitic cancer mortality among workers with benzene exposure
  1. J J Collins1,
  2. B Ireland2,
  3. C F Buckley3,
  4. D Shepperly1
  1. 1Solutia, 575 Maryville Centre Drive, St Louis, MO 63141, USA
  2. 2St Louis University
  3. 3Retired from Monsanto
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr J J Collins, Dow Chemical, Building 1803, Midland, Michigan 48674, USA; 


Lymphohaematopoeitic cancer mortality was examined among 4417 workers at a chemical plant by cumulative and peak benzene exposure. There was little evidence of increasing risk with increasing cumulative exposure for all leukaemias or acute non-lymphocytic leukaemias (ANL), or the other lymphohaematopoeitic cancers with the exception of multiple myeloma. For multiple myeloma, the SMRs were 1.1 (95% CI 0.3 to 2.5) in the non-exposed group, 1.4 (95% CI 0.2 to 5.1) in the <1 ppm-years, 1.5 (95% CI 0.2 to 5.4) in the 1–6 ppm-years, and 2.6 (95% CI 0.7 to 6.7) in the >6 ppm-years group. We found no trends by peak exposures for any of the cancers. However, when peak exposures over 100 ppm for 40 or more days were considered, the observed number of all leukaemias (SMR = 2.7, 95% CI 0.8 to 6.4), ANL (SMR = 4.1, 95% CI 0.5 to 14.9), and multiple myeloma (SMR = 4.0, 95% CI 0.8 to 11.7) were greater than expected. While the observed number of deaths is small in this study, the number of peak exposures greater than 100 ppm to benzene is a better predictor of risk than cumulative exposure. The dose rate of benzene and a threshold for exposure response may be important factors for evaluating lymphohaematopoietic risk.

  • benzene
  • leukaemia
  • multiple myeloma
  • exposure estimation
  • ANL, acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia
  • CI, confidence interval
  • SMR, standardised mortality ratio

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