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Wood Dust Linked to Increased Lung Cancer Risk

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Wood Dust Linked to Increased Lung Cancer Risk

NEW YORK MAY 06, 2005 (Reuters Health) - Recent findings support the hypothesis that wood dust exposure may increase the risk of lung cancer, according to Texas-based researchers.

"Wood dust was designated as a human carcinogen based on increased sinus and nasal cancer rates among exposed workers," Dr. George L. Delclos and colleagues from the University of Texas, Houston, point out in the April issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. "However, data on an association with lung cancer have been inconclusive."

In a case-control study, the researchers compared self-reported wood dust exposure in 1368 lung cancer patients and 1192 cancer-free adults. Among criteria for exposure were employment in wood dust-related occupations and industries and self-reported regular exposure to wood dust for at least a year. In total, 262 subjects were categorized as exposed.

The investigators consistently observed significantly increased adjusted risk estimates using several definitions of wood dust exposure. For combined wood dust-related occupations and industries, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) was 3.15. The adjusted OR for exposure overall was 1.60.

The team notes that the association was consistent across all histopathological types and that there appears to be a biologic interaction between wood dust exposure and cigarette smoking.

"The adjusted OR for wood dust exposure in absence of smoking was 1.57," they observe, "for smoking in the absence of wood dust exposure the OR was 1.71, and for the individuals who were exposed to both smoking and wood dust the adjusted OR was 2.87."


American Journal of Industrial Medicine 2005;47:349-357.

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