Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Mortality of industrial workers exposed to acrylonitrile
Blair, A., Stewart, P. A., Zaebst, D. D., Pottern, L., Zey, J. N., Bloom, T. F., Miller, B., Ward, E., Lubin, J. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Heal. 1998. 24 Suppl 2, 25-41.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Occupation, acrylonitrile, solvent, methylene chlo
Study design
Prospective cohort
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number in Cohort
Cohort:: 4293 white women, 897 nonwhite women
Cohort participation rate
92% death certificates successfully traced
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Workers employed prior to 1984 at plants producing acrylonitrile monomer compared with US population.
Comment about participation selection
Workers differ from US female population on many breast cancer risk factors.
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Quantitative estimate of exposure by job, department, and time period, based on personal-monitoring study and other monitoring data
Exposure assessment comment
Extensive efforts were made to reduce misclassification by designing exposure categories based on monitoring data.
Statistical Analysis
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Mortality from breast cancer through 1989
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
White, nonwhite
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.
Age, race, wage or salary status
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 ratios (comparing exposed workers to general population) and rate ratios (comparing exposed and unexposed workers) from the Poisson regression.
Strength of associations reported
Exposed white female workers SMR 0.7 (0.3-1.9) based on 4 breast cancer deaths; nonwhite SMR 1.1 (0.1-7.2), 1 breast cancer death
Results Comments
Age distribution of females not reported. Numbers of observed and expected breast cancers are small. Mortality insensitive indicator for breast cancer.
Author address
Occupational Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, United States. BLAIRA@epndce.nci.nih.gov