Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Cancer mortality patterns among hairdressers and barbers in 24 US states, 1984 to 1995
Lamba, A. B., Ward, M. H., Weeks, J. L., Dosemeci, M. J Occup Environ Med. 2001. 43:3, 250-8.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Occupation, solvent, endocrine disrupting compound
Study design
Case-control mortality
Study Participants
Number of Cases
1027 white women, 153 black women;
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Death certificate from 24 states: "usual occupation" hairdresser or cosmetologist or barber
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Usual job as hairdresser, cosmetologist, or barber
Exposure assessment comment
Specific chemical exposure is unknown. Level and duration of exposure is unknown.
Statistical Analysis
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Mortality from breast cancer from 1984-1995
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
African Americans
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, but comparison group is demographically similar due to same occupation.
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
Mortality odds ratios
Strength of associations reported
White women MOR 1.10 (1.03-1.17)
Black women MOR 1.15 (0.98-1.30)
Results Comments
Numbers are small for males. Authors state hairdressers may be exposed to organic solvents, aromatic amines. Chemical exposures have changed over time. MOR is affected by cardiovascular risk, so results should be interpreted with caution.
Author address
Dennison Associates Inc., Falls Church, Va, USA.