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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31804f5ab8
Letters to the Editor

Authors' Response

Meguellati-Hakkas, Djamila PhD; Stucker, Isabelle PhD; Luce, Danièle PhD; Guenel, Pascal MD, PhD

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INSERM Unit 754 and Unit 687; Villejuif FRANCE

Readers are invited to submit letters for publication in this department. Submit them to: The Editor, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 605 Worcester Road, Towson, MD 21286-7834. Letters should be sent as hard copy with an accompanying diskette and should be designated “For Publication.”

To the Editor: Following our report of an increased risk of lung cancer related to asbestos exposure in telephone linemen,1 the authors of the above comment draw our attention to the risk of mesothelioma in this occupation, as well as to other possible occupational exposures that may explain elevated risk of respiratory cancers. A mesothelioma register was not set up among French telephone linemen, but deaths from cancer of the pleura can be used as a proxy for studying mortality from mesothelioma. Ten cancers of the pleura occurred in the cohort, leading to a non-statistically significant standardized mortality ratio of 1.2 using the French general population as a reference. This provides only limited evidence of an elevated risk of mesothelioma among French telephone linemen, but the long latency period of the disease after asbestos exposure may require additional years of follow-up in our cohort to detect an elevated risk. Exposure to talc from making telephone cables is suggested by the authors as an additional occupational hazard. As far as we know, however, talc in telephone cables was not used by telephone workers in our cohort before the end of the follow-up period, making our data irrelevant for studying the carcinogenic properties of this exposure.

Djamila Meguellati-Hakkas, PhD

Isabelle Stucker, PhD

Danièle Luce, PhD

Pascal Guenel, MD, PhD

INSERM Unit 754 and Unit 687

Villejuif FRANCE

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1. Meguellati-Hakkas D, Cyr D, Stucker I, et al. Lung cancer mortality and occupational exposure to asbestos among telephone linemen: a historical cohort study in France. J Occup Environ Med. 2006;48:1166–1172.

Cited By:

This article has been cited 1 time(s).

Medicina Del Lavoro
Mesothelioma of the pleura in the Province of Trieste
Bianchi, C; Bianchi, T; Tommasi, M
Medicina Del Lavoro, 98(5): 374-380.

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©2007The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine


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