Background: Nearly one million U.S. women are employed as health or science technicians with various chemical and biological exposures, but few studies have looked at their health outcomes.
Methods: Using 1984-1995 mortality data with coded occupation information, we calculated race- and age-adjusted proportionate cancer mortality ratios (PCMRs) and 95% confidence intervals for two age groups for black and white women with occupations of clinical laboratory (CLT), radiologic, and science technician.
Results: For CLTs, the PCMRs for breast cancer were borderline significantly elevated. The PCMRs for leukemia were significantly elevated, particularly for myeloid leukemia. Radiologic technicians had no significantly elevated PCMRs. Science technicians had significantly elevated PCMRs for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma in the younger age group.
Discussion: The elevated risks for lymphatic and hematopoietic neoplasms in CLTs and science technicians may be associated with occupational exposures.