Epidemiologic studies and long-term carcinogenicity studies in experimental animals suggest that some halogenated hydrocarbons are carcinogenic. To investigate whether exposure to trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, or 1,1,1-trichloroethane increases carcinogenic risk, a cohort of 2050 male and 1924 female workers monitored for occupational exposure to these agents was followed up for cancer incidence in 1967 to 1992. The overall cancer incidence within the cohort was similar to that of the Finnish population. There was an excess of cancers of the cervix uteri and lymphohematopoietic tissues, however. Excess of pancreatic cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma was seen after 10 years from the first personal measurement. Among those exposed to trichloroethylene, the overall cancer incidence was increased for a follow-up period of more than 20 years. There was an excess of cancers of the stomach, liver, prostate, and lymphohematopoietic tissues combined. Workers exposed to 1,1,1-trichloroethane had increased risk of multiple myeloma and cancer of the nervous system. The study provides support to the hypothesis that trichloroethylene and other halogenated hydrocarbons are carcinogenic for the liver and lymphohematopoietic tissues, especially for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The study also documents excess of cancers of the stomach, pancreas, cervix uteri, prostate, and the nervous system among workers exposed to solvents.
©1995The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine