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.

Exposure to asbestos and the risk of colorectal cancer mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Occupational and Environmental Medicine – Researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantitatively evaluate the association between exposure to asbestos and colorectal cancer. Although the effect size was small and the heterogeneity among studies was large, their findings indicate that occupational exposure to asbestos is a risk factor for colorectal cancer, and that the risk of colorectal cancer mortality increases as the level of asbestos exposure rises.
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Report: Awareness of asbestos hazards in schools, asbestos management plans and training among Ontario school custodial workers

Occupational Cancer Research Centre – Asbestos was historically used in many public buildings in Canada, including schools, and little is known about how asbestos is managed in school settings. Custodial workers in schools have been identified as at-risk for potential exposure to asbestos during routine housekeeping or maintenance work. This report summarizes the findings from an evaluation of Ontario custodial workers’ awareness of asbestos management in schools.
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IARC gives justifications for monographs programme update

Chemical Watch – The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has outlined the “motivation and methodology” for the update to its monographs programme. In a commentary paper, IARC provides justification for changes to the programme’s “preamble”, which describes the procedures for the evaluation of a carcinogenicity hazard. Previously, there were five categories corresponding to groups 1, 2A, 2B, 3 and 4. The update removed group 4 (probably not carcinogenic to humans).
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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.

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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Subscribe to our newsletters

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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