Carcinogens in the News

The CAREX Canada team offers two regular newsletters: the biannual e-Bulletin summarizing information on upcoming webinars, new publications, and updates to estimates and tools; and the monthly Carcinogens in the News, a digest of media articles, government reports, and academic literature related to the carcinogens we’ve classified as important for surveillance in Canada. Sign up for one of these newsletters, or both, below.

Disparities in toxic heavy metal exposures correlated with increased risk of breast cancer among minority populations

Medical Xpress – Among women in Chicago, African Americans and Hispanics were exposed to higher levels of ambient toxic heavy metals compared with non-Hispanic whites, and this increased exposure correlated with increased incidence of breast cancer, according to preliminary results presented at a recent American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference.
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Burden of Occupational Cancer in Canada

Occupational Cancer Research Centre – Burden of Occupational Cancer in Canada presents estimates of occupational exposure and the associated burden of cancer by industry, as well as exposure reduction strategies for the most common occupational carcinogens in Canada. A major feature of the report is the evidence-based policy recommendations directed at government, occupational health and safety systems, employers and non-governmental organizations.
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Exposure to welding fumes, hexavalent chromium, or nickel and lung cancer risk

American Journal of Epidemiology – To investigate lung cancer risk of welding fumes, hexavalent chromium, and nickel, researchers analyzed data from two German case-control studies. They developed a welding-process exposure-matrix from measurements of these agents, which was linked with welding histories from a job-specific questionnaire to calculate cumulative exposure variables. They found that welding fumes, hexavalent chromium, and nickel may contribute independently to the excess lung cancer risk associated with welding.
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Population-level estimates of workplace exposure to secondhand smoke in Canada

Canadian Journal of Public Health – This study estimated the number of workers exposed to SHS in Canada in 2006 and 2016 and their level of exposure. The study authors found that the number of exposed workers decreased by 20% from 520,000 in 2006 to 418,000 in 2016, and that trades, transport and equipment operators, and workers in primary industry had the highest rates of overall exposure. The findings can help prioritize high-risk groups for interventions and inform studies of the burden of occupational disease.
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Asbestos still leading cause of work-related deaths in the province: WorkSafe Sask.

CTV News – Disease related to asbestos exposure continues to be the leading cause of death in the province, WorkSafe Saskatchewan says. Asbestos accounts for 23 per cent of 388 work-related deaths in Saskatchewan between 2009 and 2018, WorkSafe said in a news release. Many homes and buildings built before 1990 still contain asbestos, so contractors and homeowners doing renovations may be putting themselves at risk of exposure to asbestos.
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BC State of the Air Report

BC Lung AssociationThe 2019 BC State of the Air Report is now available. Published annually by the BC Lung Association’s Air Quality and Health Steering Committee, the report provides a snapshot of key air quality issues across the province and includes articles on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), air quality sensors and wildfire smoke.
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Exposure to crystalline silica in Canadian workplaces and the risk of kidney cancer

Occupational and Environmental Medicine – The causes of kidney cancer are not well understood although occupational exposures are thought to play a role. Crystalline silica is a known human carcinogen, and despite previous links with kidney disease, few studies have investigated its association with kidney cancer. Researchers addressed this knowledge gap using a population-based case-control study of Canadian men. Their study did not find that occupational exposure to crystalline silica increases risk of kidney cancer in men.
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‘Like being in prison’: Neighbours worry while province studies cancer rate near former Domtar site

The Chronicle Herald – Residents near the former Domtar site say they feel there’s nothing they can do while the province looks into why that area has elevated rates of breast, endometrial and lung cancer compared to the rest of Alberta. Last spring, residents near the 37-hectare former Domtar Inc. wood-treatment operation received letters warning their homes were near land contaminated primarily with dioxins and furans.
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Mortality risk and fine particulate air pollution in a large, representative cohort of U.S. adults

Environmental Health Perspectives – Epidemiological and related evidence implicates exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution as contributing to cardiopulmonary disease, lung cancer, and infant mortality, as well as the global burden of disease. This study observed, in a large, representative, contemporary cohort of U.S. adults, that long-term exposure to PM2.5 air pollution was associated with elevated risks of early mortality.
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Consulting on the future of chemicals management in Canada

Health Canada – Health Canada is exploring ways to enhance the protection of workers from exposure to chemicals by integrating and leveraging the information, tools, and/or technical expertise of the Chemicals Management Plan and Health Canada’s Workplace Hazardous Products Program. The purpose of this consultation is to solicit feedback on the proposed elements and activities outlined in the report.
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Carcinogenicity of night shift work

The Lancet Oncology – In June, 2019, 27 scientists from 16 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, to evaluate of the carcinogenicity of night shift work. The Working Group classified night shift work in Group 2A, “probably carcinogenic to humans”, based on limited evidence that is causes breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer in humans, sufficient evidence of cancer in experimental animals, and strong mechanistic evidence.
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Burden of non-melanoma skin cancer attributable to occupational sun exposure in Canada

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health – This study aimed to quantify the health burden of non-melanoma skin cancers among outdoor workers in Canada. In 2011, 6.31% (4556 cases) of non-melanoma skin cancer cases were estimated to be attributable to occupational exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation. These estimates of the burden of non-melanoma skin cancer in Canada identify the need for further prevention efforts, particularly in agriculture and construction.
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Prostate cancer risk decreases following cessation of night shift work

International Journal of Cancer – Night shift work has been associated with breast and prostate cancer. Recent studies on breast cancer indicate that risk is highest in women with current night‐shift work and decreases with time since last night‐shift work. The study found a pattern of time‐related decrease in prostate cancer risk following night shift work with a nearly null association 20 years after last exposure that has also been observed for breast cancer.
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Sun Safety in Canada Infographic

CCOHS – People who work outdoors are vulnerable to the sun’s rays. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) can cause sunburn, premature skin aging, eye damage and skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada and the rate continues to rise, yet it is one of the most preventable. This infographic outlines ways employers can support outdoor workers, including the development of a sun safety policy, and tips to reduce the risk when working outside.
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Case-control investigation of occupational lead exposure and kidney cancer

Occupational and Environmental Medicine – Lead is a suspected carcinogen that has been inconsistently associated with kidney cancer. To clarify this relationship, researchers conducted an analysis of occupational lead exposure within a population-based study of kidney cancer using detailed exposure assessment methods. The findings of this study did not offer clear support for an association between occupational lead exposure and kidney cancer.
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The CAREX Canada team offers two regular newsletters: the biannual e-Bulletin summarizing information on upcoming webinars, new publications, and updates to estimates and tools; and the monthly Carcinogens in the News, a digest of media articles, government reports, and academic literature related to the carcinogens we’ve classified as important for surveillance in Canada. Sign up for one or both of these newsletters below.

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