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Occupational exposure to wood dust and risk of lung cancer: the ICARE study

Abstract

Objectives In a previous analysis of data from a French population-based case–control study (the Investigation of occupational and environmental CAuses of REspiratory cancers (ICARE) study), ‘having ever worked’ in wood-related occupations was associated with excess lung cancer risk after adjusting for smoking but not for occupational factors. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between lung cancer risk and wood dust exposure after adjusting for occupational exposures.

Methods Data were obtained from 2276 cases and 2780 controls on smoking habits and lifelong occupational history, using a standardised questionnaire with a job-specific questionnaire for wood dust exposure. Logistic regression models were used to calculate ORs and 95% CIs adjusted for age, area of residence, tobacco smoking, the number of job periods and exposure to silica, asbestos and diesel motor exhaust (DME).

Results No significant association was found between lung cancer and wood dust exposure after adjustment for smoking, asbestos, silica and DME exposures. The risk of lung cancer was slightly increased among those who were exposed to wood dust more than 10 years, and had over 40 years since the first exposure.

Conclusion Our findings do not provide a strong support to the hypothesis that wood dust exposure is a risk factor for lung cancer. This study showed the importance of taking into account smoking and occupational coexposures in studies on lung cancer and wood dust exposure. Further studies evaluating the level and frequency of exposure during various tasks in woodwork are needed.

  • Wood dust
  • Asbestos
  • Lung cancer
  • Case-control study
  • Epidemiology
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