The authors studied the mortality by lung cancer in telephone linemen exposed to asbestos at low levels during installation of telephone cables.
Three hundred eight lung cancers deaths were identified in the cohort. Exposure to asbestos and to other occupational carcinogens was assessed using a job-exposure matrix.
The relative risk for lung cancer death associated with an estimated exposure of approximately 2 f/cc-years was 2.1 (95% confidence interval = 1.1–4.0) as compared with workers exposed to less than 0.5 f/cc-years. Mean annual exposure or exposure duration were not clearly related to lung cancer. Adjustment for other occupational lung carcinogens did not change this finding.
The observed mortality by lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure at low levels is higher than the prediction based on linear downward extrapolations from highly exposed occupational cohorts.
From Inserm, U754, IFR69 (Dr Meguellati-Hakkas, Dr Stücker, Dr Guénel), Villejuif, France; Inserm, U687, IFR69 (Dr Cyr, Dr Luce), Saint-Maurice, France; and Université Claude Bernard (Dr Févotte, Dr Pilorget), Lyon, France.
The study was financially supported by Fondation de France and by France Télécom.
Address correspondence to: Pascal Guénel, MD, PhD, INSERM U754, 16 avenue Paul Vailllant-Couturier, 94807 Villejuif Cedex, France; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.