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A review and meta-analysis of cancer risks in relation to Portland cement exposure
  1. Sarah S Cohen,
  2. Margaret M Sadoff,
  3. Xiaohui Jiang,
  4. Jon P Fryzek,
  5. David H Garabrant
  1. EpidStat Institute, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah S Cohen, EpidStat Institute, 2100 Commonwealth Blvd, Suite 203, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 USA; sarah{at}


Workers engaged in the production of Portland cement may come into contact with potential occupational hazards, but existing epidemiological studies show wide variation in risk estimates for cancer incidence and mortality in relation to cement exposure. This report identified studies of cement workers and associations with cancer incidence and mortality in a systematic review and meta-analysis. A systematic review according to the PRISMA guidelines was conducted to identify studies of Portland cement workers and cancer outcomes. Meta-analyses were performed using random effects models for all cancers combined and for each cancer site with three or more reported measures of risk. A total of 26 studies were included in the review (14 occupational cohort studies and 12 case–control studies). Overall, the meta-relative risks did not provide convincing evidence for increased risks of any cancers in relation to cement exposure. Meta-SMR and 95% CIs were 0.94 (0.76 to 1.16) for six studies reporting all cancers combined, 0.93 (0.62 to 1.39) for seven studies reporting on lung cancer, 1.07 (0.72 to 1.59) for five studies reporting on stomach cancer, and 1.05 (0.79 to 1.40) for four studies reporting on colorectal cancer. Meta-relative risks for cancer incidence were similarly null for all sites with the exception of colorectal cancer which had a borderline statistically significant elevated risk (SIR=1.38, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.88). Overall, the meta-relative risks calculated across 26 published studies do not provide evidence of increased risks for cancer in relation to cement exposure.

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