Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Mortality patterns among construction workers in the United States
Robinson, C. F., Halperin, W. E., Alterman, T., Braddee, R. W., Burnett, C. A., Fosbroke, D. E., Kisner, S. M., Lalich, N. R., Roscoe, R. J., Seligman, P. J., et al., Occup Med. 1995. 10:2, 269-83.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Occupation, pentachlorophenol, PCBs, pesticide
Funding agency
Not reported
Study Participants
Number in Cohort
Cohort: 475,000 in construction carpentry; 125,000 in industrial wood carpentry
Cohort participation rate
Greater than 70%
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Members for at least two years of the US Carpenters' Union who died 1987-1990
Comment about participation selection
Most workers were in the union for 40 or more years.
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Work as a construction or wood products carpenter. Wood products carpenters are exposed to pentachlorophenol, a wood preservative.
Exposure assessment comment
Multiple chemical exposures are likely.
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Mortality from breast cancer: male
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
Proportionate mortality ratio, proportionate cancer mortality
Strength of associations reported
Wood products carpenters PMR 510 (139-1305) 4 deaths
Construction carpenters PMR 116 (46-240) 7 deaths
PCMR 138 (69-246)
Results Comments
PCMR corrects for possible bias in PMR due to competing causes of death (cardiovascular). Because employment in carpentry may result in other cancer risks, the PCMR may understate risk compared with a noncancer group.
Author address
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226, USA.