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Considering the temporal association between exposure to benzene and
the later development of leukaemia it is questionable if this phenomena is
also true for NHL.1 From several independent epidemiologic studies with
consistent findings it can be concluded, that 10 to 15 years after
exposure to benzene has been stopped, the risk of leukaemia is
significantly less or even absent.2,3,4
Assuming that the underlying...
Assuming that the underlying mechanism for leukaemia and NHL is the
same, it would be important to use the large database of the "Epilymph
study" to analyze the temporal pattern between exposure and disease.
The study found increased risks for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
after exposure to toluene and xylene. A benzene exposure was excluded.
These statistical associations must be discussed with respect to the
genotoxicologic evidence of these aromatic hydro-carbons. Compared to
benzene, toluene and xylene have not been proven as human carcinogens. The
IARC Working Group concluded in 1999, that there is inadequate evidence in
humans for the carcinogenicity of toluene and xylenes.5 Therefore the
associations must be interpreted with caution and do not support
1. Triebig G. Implications of latency period between benzene exposure and
development of leukemia - a synopis of literature. Chem Biol Interact
2010; 184: 26-29.
2. Hayes RB, Song-Nian Yin, Dosemeci M. Benzene and the dose related
incidence of hematologic neoplasm in China. J Natl Cancer Inst 1997; 89:
3. Finkelstein MM. Leukemia after exposure to benzene: temporal trends and
implications for standards. Am J Ind Med 2000; 38: 1-7.
4. Glass DC, Sim MR, Fritschi L, Gray CN, Jolley DJ, Gibbons CG. Letter to
the editor. Leukemia risk and relvant benzene exposure period. Am J Ind
Med 2002; 42:481-489
5. IARC Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Re-
evaluation of Some Organic Chemicals, Hydrazine and Hydrogen Peroxide.
Volume 71, Part two (Toluene) and Part three (Xylene). World Health
Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1999
Prof. Dr. G. Triebig, M.D., M.Sc.
Institute and Outpatient Clinic for
Occupational and Social Medicine
University of Heidelberg
Tel.: ( 49) 6221 56 51 01
Fax: ( 49) 6221 56 29 91