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NCI Acrylonitrile Cohort

Acrylonitrile is a commercially important chemical used in the production of synthetic fibers and resins, plastics, nitrile rubbers, and many other products. Results from animal bioassays and epidemiologic studies suggest it might cause cancers of the lung, brain, prostate, stomach, hematopoietic and lymphatic systems. However, findings from early epidemiologic studies were inconsistent and inconclusive due to being underpowered and lack of exposure characterization.

The NCI Acrylonitrile Cohort is a study of 25,460 workers employed at eight facilities that produce or use acrylonitrile in the United States. Follow-up of this cohort through 1989 found no elevated risk for any cancer, but there was an excess for lung cancer in the highest quintile of cumulative exposure more than 20 years after first exposure. The NCI cohort is the largest study to date, with the most detailed exposure assessment. Currently, the mortality experience of the cohort is being extended an additional 20 years to re-evaluate the association between acrylonitrile exposure and cancer mortality, as well as other health outcomes.

For more information, contact Dr. Stella Koutros or Dr. Debra Silverman.

Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas