Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Mortality of cellulose fiber production workers
Lanes, S. F., Cohen, A., Rothman, K. J., Dreyer, N. A., Soden, K. J. Scand J Work Environ Health. 1990. 16:4, 247-51.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Occupation, organic solvent, methylene chloride
Study design
Cohort: 1271 (57% women)
Funding agency
Hoechst Celanese Corporation
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Not reported
Number of Controls
Controls: 753
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Textile company workers at a plant in Rock Hill, SC, exposed to methylene chloride in the production of cellulose triacetate fiber 1954-1977 compared to York County population.
Comment about participation selection
Although the cohort is less than 4% of the county population, the plant may have substantial community impact, so the county population may not be representative of an unexposed group. Comparison of factory workers to a general female population may result in confounding. 53% of cohort was employed at least 10 years; they contributed 34% of person-time.
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Work in preparation or extrusion areas at least 3 months between 1954-1977. These areas involve exposure to methylene chloride. Industrial hygiene survey in 1977 reported 8-hour time-weighted average exposure from below detection to 1700 ppm for methyle
Exposure assessment comment
Detailed job histories for only 356 active employed and 119 who left after 1979.
Statistical Analysis
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Mortality from breast cancer
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Not controlled
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Standardized mortality ratio
Strength of associations reported
SMR = 60 (0.10-1.99) based on 2 deaths
Results Comments
Small numbers and likely confounding limit inference from this study.
Author address
Epidemiology Resources Inc, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02167.