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.

A global mask shortage may leave farmers and farm workers exposed to toxic pesticides

The Conversation – As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world, vital N95 masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) have been hard to come by, even for those who need them most. And it’s not just health care workers and other care providers who need PPE – especially those N95 masks, technically known as respirators. These devices are also vital to the safety of workers in a host of other industries, from building trades to agriculture.
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Asbestos inhalation poses cancer risks to workers and consumers

Chemical and Engineering News – The processing and use of asbestos-containing diaphragms by the chlor-alkali industry poses an unreasonable risk to the health of workers, the US Environmental Protection Agency concludes in a draft risk evaluation. The assessment, released March 30, also finds unreasonable risks to workers and consumers who process or use asbestos-containing sheet gaskets, brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes and linings, and other vehicle friction products and gaskets.
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A scoping review to identify strategies that work to prevent four important occupational diseases

American Journal of Industrial Medicine – This scoping review identifies occupational disease prevention strategies worthy of further exploration by decisionmakers and stakeholders and of future systematic evaluation by researchers. It also identified important gaps, including a lack of studies of precarious workers and the need for more studies that rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.
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Impact of air pollution on breast cancer incidence and mortality: a nationwide analysis in South Korea

Scientific Reports – Korean researchers performed a nationwide, whole-population census study to investigate the associations between ambient NO2, particulate matter 10 (PM10) concentration and age-adjusted breast cancer mortality and incidence rates in females. They found that ambient air pollutant concentrations were positively and significantly associated with the breast cancer incidence rate. No significant association between air pollutants and the breast cancer mortality rate was observed except for PM10.
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Rules around removal of deadly asbestos tightened on P.E.I.

CBC News – P.E.I.’s Workers Compensation Board has reviewed and revised the rules for contractors removing asbestos from buildings during renovations or demolition. The changes include: new definitions of asbestos-containing materials; a requirement for daily air sampling outside of the work enclosure; expiration periods for contractor certification; new requirements for ventilation; and enhanced medical surveillance for asbestos abatement workers.
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Air pollution ‘pandemic’ shortens lives by 3 years: study

France 24 – Researchers that compared global risk factors found that a ‘pandemic’ of air pollution shortens lives worldwide by nearly three years on average, and causes 8.8 million premature deaths annually. Eliminating the toxic cocktail of molecules and lung-clogging particles cast off by burning oil, gas and coal would restore a full year of life expectancy, they reported in the journal Cardiovascular Research.
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Projected estimates of cancer in Canada in 2020

CMAJ – This study provides an overview of the expected incidence and mortality of cancer in Canada in 2020 in follow-up to the Canadian Cancer Statistics 2019 report. Key findings of the article are summarized in the Canadian Cancer Society’s infographic, and include that an estimated 225,800 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in 2020, and 83,300 will die from it. Lung cancer is expected to be the leading cause of cancer death, accounting for 25.5% of all cancer deaths in Canada.
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Here’s what you need to know about radon in your home

CTV News – A national study has found around half the homes in Regina, and around one-third of the homes in Saskatchewan, exceed Health Canada’s maximum acceptable level of radon. Evict Radon is a non-profit group of researchers whose latest research was published in Scientific Reports. Their findings show Saskatchewan as a problem area, and they are now trying to educate the public about the issue and are encouraging public participation in their research.
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Global and regional burden of cancer in 2016 arising from occupational exposure to selected carcinogens: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

Occupational and Environmental Medicine – This study provides a detailed analysis of the global and regional burden of cancer due to occupational carcinogens from the Global Burden of Disease 2016 study. The burden of cancer due to 14 International Agency for Research on Cancer Group 1 occupational carcinogens (including asbestos, silica, and secondhand smoke) was estimated using the population attributable fraction, based on past population exposure prevalence and relative risks from the literature. The results were used to calculate attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
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World Cancer Report: Cancer Research for Cancer Prevention

IARC – Starting with the latest trends in cancer incidence and mortality worldwide, this publication provides wide-ranging insights into cancer prevention based on the known causes of cancer, factors that determine how cancer develops, and the behaviour of different tumour types, and presents a broad scope of interventions to reduce the cancer burden from a global perspective, including addressing inequalities that affect cancer prevention.
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Occupation as a predictor of prostate cancer screening behaviour in Canada

Journal of Medical Screening – Researchers identified variations in prostate cancer screening by occupation among men in Montreal, Canada. They found substantial disparities in prostate cancer screening by occupation, and that men in occupations where carcinogen exposures are more common are less likely to participate in prostate screening activities. The study authors note that this could be an important source of bias and should be accounted for in occupational studies of prostate cancer.
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Quebec City to invest $50M over 10 years to replace lead pipes

CBC News – Quebec City will be replacing approximately 8,000 intake pipes in its municipal water system over the next decade, to get rid of lead pipes that were used in the construction of commercial and residential buildings. Quebec City estimates there are around 80,000 households on its territory that were built before 1980, when the province’s building regulations banned the use of lead pipes.
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EPA looks at 3D printing emissions

EHS Today – Working in cooperation with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is studying possible harmful emissions that are released during the 3D printing process. The most concerning of the emissions are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Although there have been many studies on the effects of VOCs produced by 3D printing, none of the research considered how these emissions change when certain additives are introduced to the 3D printing filament.
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New asbestos video offers primer on hidden killer

Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development – A new video from the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training & Skills Development outlines the risks posed by asbestos as well as the roles and responsibilities of workers, employers and site owners to mitigate these risks and ensure worker safety.
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Largest study yet offers no clear talc link to ovarian cancer

CBC News – U.S. researchers who conducted the largest study yet into whether applying powder to the genitals increases a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer were unable to definitively put to rest the issue that has prompted thousands of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other companies. Overall, the study did not find a significantly increased risk of ovarian cancer, but there appeared to be a heightened risk among certain women who used the products.
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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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