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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
Original Articles

Different Measures of Asbestos Exposure in Estimating Risk of Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma Among Construction Workers

Koskinen, Kari MD; Pukkala, Eero PhD; Martikainen, Rami MSc; Reijula, Kari MD; Karjalainen, Antti MD

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Abstract

To analyze occupation, expert-evaluated cumulative exposure, and radiographic abnormalities as indicators of asbestos-related cancer risk we followed 16,696 male construction workers for cancer in 1990–2000. We calculated standardized incidence ratios (SIR) in comparison to the Finnish population and relative risks (RR) in a multivariate analysis in comparison to the internal low-exposure category of each indicator. Overall, the risk was increased for mesothelioma (SIR 2.0, 95% CI = 1.0–3.3), but not for lung cancer (SIR 1.1, 95% CI = 0.9–1.2). Radiographic lung fibrosis indicated a 2-fold and a high value of the exposure index a 3-fold RR of lung cancer, while there was no risk among those with pleural plaques. The risk of lung cancer was the highest in insulators (RR 3.7, 95% CI = 1.4–9.9). Occupation, expert-evaluated cumulative exposure, and lung fibrosis are useful indicators of lung cancer risk among construction workers

©2002The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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