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.

Living near busy roads ‘increases risk of lung cancer by 10 per cent’

The Independent – Living within 50 metres of a major road can increase the risk of lung cancer by up to 10 per cent, according to new research on air pollution. The study, released by a coalition of 15 health and environment organizations, also showed that proximity to busy highways can stunt children’s lung development by up to 14 per cent.
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Nova Scotia buying 100 more radon detectors so people can test their homes

CBC News – Nova Scotia is spending $30,000 to ensure more people across the province have access to radon detectors. In 2017, 150 radon detectors were made available through library systems across the province, but the program became so popular there are eight-month waiting lists in some areas. The extra funds announced on Thursday will add 100 more detectors for libraries around the province and is expected to cut wait lists in half.
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Air pollution nanoparticles linked to brain cancer for first time

The Guardian – New research has linked air pollution nanoparticles to brain cancer for the first time. The ultra-fine particles (UFPs) are produced by fuel burning, particularly in diesel vehicles, and higher exposures significantly increase people’s chances of getting the deadly cancer. Previous work has shown that nanoparticles can get into the brain and that they can carry carcinogenic chemicals.
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Report of the Advisory Group to recommend priorities for the IARC Monographs during 2020–2024

IARC – An Advisory Group of 29 scientists from 18 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in March 2019 to recommend priorities for the IARC Monographs programme during 2020–2024. The Advisory Group recommended a broad range of agents with high, medium, or low priority for evaluation. High priority agents include metalworking fluids, sedentary behavior, acrylamide, gasoline, firefighting, acetaldehyde, bisphenol A, and more.
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Investigation: Lead in some Canadian water worse than Flint

AP News – A yearlong investigation by more than 120 journalists from nine universities and 10 media organizations, including The Associated Press and the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University in Montreal , collected test results that properly measure exposure to lead in 11 cities across Canada. Out of 12,000 tests since 2014, one-third — 33% — exceeded the national safety guideline of 5 parts per billion; 18% exceeded the U.S. limit of 15 ppb.
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Night shift work/breast cancer link demands action, says research

Workers Health & Safety Centre – Evidence of the link between night shift work and cancer has been mounting for over a decade, but a new Canadian cancer burden study finds we can’t wait for more definite proof. The new study, entitled “The Impact of night shift work on breast cancer: Results from the Burden of Occupational Cancer in Canada Study”, found an estimated two to 5.2 per cent of the newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer in women in 2011 were attributable to night shift work.
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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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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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