LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News Vol 3 no 3 Winter 1995 ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News ( ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.

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Lead Linked to Cancer

by Robin Mosman

Recent epidemiological evidence supports an association between stomach and lung cancer, and exposure to lead.

A study by H. Fu and Dr P. Boffetta reviewed and summarised the epidemiological evidence on the carcinogenicity of workers with heavy exposure to inorganic lead, and to Organo lead compounds. In all 16 studies involving 2,402 deaths from cancer were reviewed. It showed a significant excess risk of overall cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer, and bladder cancer. One study found that workers exposed to the lead additive in petrol (tetraethyl lead) were nearly twice as likely to suffer from skin cancer than non-exposed workers.

Another study observed a small number of brain and respiratory cancers in workers who manufactured tetraethyl lead. Workers were from the following industries - battery manufacture, smelter, lead and zinc chromate pigment manufacture, printing and glassworks.

A separate analysis of studies of heavily exposed workers provided slightly increased relative risk ratios for cancers of the stomach and lungs.

Reference: Hua Fu and Paola Boffetta. Cancer and occupational exposure to inorganic lead compounds: a meta-analysis of published data. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 1995. 52:73-81. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1128158/

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