Benzene exposure and risk of lymphohaematopoietic cancers in 25 000 offshore oil industry workers
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Background: The aim of this work was to examine the risk of lymphohaematopoietic (LH) cancer according to benzene exposure among offshore workers.
Methods: Cancer registry data were used to identify 112 cancer cases diagnosed during 1999–2011 in a cohort of 24 917 Norwegian men reporting offshore work between 1965 and 1999. Analyses were conducted according to a stratified case–cohort design with a reference subcohort of 1661 workers. Cox regression was used to estimate hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals, adjusted for other benzene exposure and smoking.
Results: Most workers were exposed to benzene for <15 years. The upper range values of average intensity and cumulative exposure were estimated to 0.040 p.p.m. and 0.948 p.p.m.-years, respectively. Risks were consistently elevated among exposed workers for all LH cancers combined and for most subgroups, although case numbers were small and yielded imprecise risk estimates. There was evidence of dose-related risk patterns according to cumulative exposure for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), multiple myeloma (MM) (P trends 0.052 and 0.024, respectively), and suggestively so for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) according to average intensity (P trend 0.094).
Conclusions: Our results support an association between cumulative and intensity metrics of low-level benzene exposure and risk for AML, MM, and suggestively for CLL.