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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:

Agricultural Health Study (AHS)

The Agricultural Health Study (AHS) is a prospective cohort of commercial pesticide applicators and their spouses in Iowa and North Carolina. AHS is 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. 

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.

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.

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 the 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.

U.S. Radiologic Technologists Cohort (USRT)

The U.S. Radiologic Technologists (USRT) cohort is a study of cancer and other serious disease risks associated with protracted low-to-moderate dose radiation exposures in an occupationally exposed cohort.