Original ArticleRisk of Nervous System Cancer Among Workers Exposed to LeadAnttila, Ahti PhD; Heikkilä, Pirjo PhL; Nykyri, Erkki LSc; Kauppinen, Timo PhD; Pukkala, Eero PhD; Hernberg, Sven MD; Hemminki, Kari MDAuthor Information From the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland (Dr Anttila, Dr Heikkilä, Dr Nykyri, Dr Kauppinen, Dr Hernberg, and Dr Hemminki), and the Finnish Cancer Registry, Helsinki, Finland (Dr Pukkala). Dr Hemminki is currently affiliated with the Center for Nutrition and Toxicology, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden. Address correspondence to: Ahti Anttila, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41a A, FIN-00250 Helsinki, Finland. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: February 1996 - Volume 38 - Issue 2 - p 131-136 Buy Abstract Experimental animal studies suggest that lead compounds may increase the risk of gliomas. To study whether occupational exposure to lead increases the risk, we followed nervous system cancer incidence among 20,741 employees biologically monitored for their blood lead (B-Pb) concentrations. We also performed a nested case-referent study, comprising 26 male cases of nervous system cancer (16 of which had gliomas). Those cases a B-Pb ≥ 1.4 µmol/L had a twofold increase in the odds ratio of nervous system cancer as compared with those employees whose B-Pb had not exceeded 0.7 µmol/L. The excess was confined to gliomas (odds ratio 11, 95% confidence interval 1.0 to 630 for B-Pb ≥1.4 µmol/L; overall P value for trend, 0.037). We obtained lifetime information on exposure and potential confounders for 58% of the cases. The odds ratio of glioma was associated with indices of lifetime exposure to lead, and potential confounders seemed not to explain the effects. The results suggest that there may be an association between occupational lead exposure and the risk of gliomas. No firm conclusions can be drawn because of the small number of cases and loss of material. © Williams & Wilkins 1996. All Rights Reserved.