Background/objective: Textile manufacturing is a complex industry that has frequently been associated with bladder cancer. However, results have not been consistent. This study investigated the risk of bladder cancer in Spanish textile workers.
Methods: We analysed data from a multicentre hospital-based case-control study carried out in Spain (1998–2001) including 1219 cases of bladder cancer and 1271 controls. Of those, 126 cases and 122 controls reported a history of employment in the textile industry. Lifetime occupational history was obtained using a computer-assisted personal interview. Occupations, locations and materials used in the textile industry were assessed using a detailed questionnaire and expert assessment.
Results: Overall, no increased risk of bladder cancer was found for textile workers, including duration of employment analysis. Increased risks were observed for weavers (OR = 1.82, 95% CI 0.95 to 3.47), for workers in winding/warping/sizing (OR 4.11, 95% CI 1.58 to 10.71) and for those exposed to synthetic materials (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.00 to 3.56). Working for more than 10 years appeared to be associated with an increased risk for weavers (OR 2.27, 95% CI 0.97 to 5.34), for those who had ever worked in winding/warping/sizing (OR 11.03, 95% CI 1.37, 88.89), for workers in the weaving room (OR 2.94, 95% CI 1.24 to 7.01) and for those exposed to synthetic (OR 2.62, 95% CI 1.14 to 6.01) or cotton (OR 2.00, 95% CI 1.04 to 3.87) materials. Statistically significant higher risks were also found for specific combinations of occupations or locations with exposure to synthetics and cotton.
Conclusions: There was no overall increased risk for textile workers, but increased risks were found for specific groups of workers. Our findings indicate that observed risks in previous studies may be better evaluated by analysis of materials used or section worked within the industry and occupation.
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Funding: This work was partially supported by the Intramural Research Program of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, USA, and by the Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria, Spain (grants 96/1998–01, 00/0745, G03/174, G03/160, C03/09, and C03/10).
Competing interests: None.