Objective To determine site-specific cancer incidence among women spinning-weaving and dyeing-finishing workers in the largest flax textile factory in Lithuania.
Method The cancer incidence of a cohort of 3447 women workers from a flax textile factory was investigated for the period 1978–2002. All subjects were employed at the plant in the period 1957–2000 for a minimum of 12 months. Standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) were estimated by use of the corresponding national rates. SIRs were calculated for the spinning-weaving and dyeing-finishing work categories, and for two durations of employment categories (<10 years, ≥10 years).
Results The cancer SIRs among spinning-weaving and dyeing-finishing workers were 0.84 (95% CI 0.69 to 1.00) and 0.90 (95% CI 0.52 to 1.44). An incidence deficit for non-melanoma skin cancer was found for the spinning-weaving unit (SIR 0.45, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.92). The risk of oral cavity and pharynx cancer was significantly increased in spinning-weaving unit workers with <10 years of employment (SIR 5.71, 95% CI 1.56 to 14.60). A significant excess of thyroid cancer and nervous system cancer was found among dyeing-finishing workers.
Conclusions The overall cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer incidence rate among flax spinning-weaving workers was lower compared with the Lithuanian population. The present findings lend some support to an excess of thyroid and nervous system cancers among dyeing-finishing workers and of oral cavity and pharynx cancer in spinning-weaving workers.
- Cancer incidence
- flax textile workers
- retrospective cohort
- organic dusts
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Funding This study was supported by a grant from the Lithuanian State Science and Studies Foundation (Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, no. T-47).
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Lithuanian Bioethics Committee (LBEC).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.