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Colorectal Cancer Incidence among Polypropylene Manufacturing Workers

Lewis R. Jeffrey PhD; Schnatter, A. Robert DrPH; Lerman, Steven E. MD
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 1994

This study updates an earlier investigation that found a sixfold excess incidence of colorectal cancer among polypropylene workers for the period January 1960 to September 1985. The study cohort comprised 412 male workers with at least 6 months employment and 10 years latency. For the extended follow-up period (October 1985 to May 1992), the standardized incidence ratio (SIR) based on state comparison rates was slightly elevated and not statistically significant (SIR = 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.5 to 3 5). A 2.3-fold excess was observed among process workers (95% CI = 0.3 to 8.2), but this was based on only two cases. Risk among process/ mechanical workers was greater for short-term workers (<10 years, SIR = 3.2, 95% CI = 0.7 to 9.2) compared with longer-term workers (≥10 years, SIR = 0.7, 95%CI= 0.02 to 4.0). Overall, the update findings do not suggest an occupationally related risk. Possible influences of company-sponsored colorectal cancer screening, the polyolefin unit shutdown, and other factors are discussed.

©1994 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine