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Occupational Exposures

DCEG researchers conduct studies in the United States and abroad to identify and evaluate environmental and workplace exposures that may be associated with cancer risk. Workers often have heavier and more prolonged exposures to hazardous chemicals that also occur in the general environment, but at lower levels. When excess risks are detected from workplace studies, they may provide important leads as to the etiology of cancer in other settings. Occupational studies have identified many chemicals that cause cancer in humans, and they have provided direction for initiatives aimed at reducing or eliminating these carcinogens in the workplace and elsewhere. Selected studies include:

  • Diesel Exhaust in Miners Study (DEMS)

    In March 2012, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) completed a retrospective cohort mortality and nested case-control study of 12,315 workers at eight non-metal mining facilities to investigate risk of lung cancer in relation to quantitative measures of historical exposure to diesel exhaust, after taking into account smoking and other lung cancer risk factors

  • DCEG Research on Formaldehyde Exposure

    Studies to investigate occupational formaldehyde exposure and cancer risk, including an industrial cohort study of over 25,000 workers, a case-control study of workers in the funeral industry, and a cross-sectional study to quantify leukemia-specific chromosome changes associated with formaldehyde exposure

  • U.S. Radiologic Technologists Cohort

    A study of cancer and other serious disease risks associated with protracted low-to-moderate dose radiation exposures in a cohort of U.S. radiologic technologists

  • Chernobyl Clean-Up Workers

    Studies of leukemia risk among clean-up workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine

  • Benzene-Exposed Workers in China

    A binational, multidisciplinary study of Chinese benzene-exposed workers and unexposed workers from more than 700 factories in 12 cities

  • Agricultural Health Study

    A prospective cohort study of commercial pesticide applicators, farmers and farmers' spouses in Iowa and North Carolina conducted in collaboration among the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 

  • Herbicide Exposure and Biologic Effects

    A collaborative study evaluating the association between exposure to herbicide 2,4-D and the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

  • Case-control Studies of Brain and Stomach Cancer

    DCEG case-control studies of brain and stomach cancer among farmers in Nebraska