Occupational exposure to chlorophenol and the risk of nasal and nasopharyngeal cancers among U.S. men aged 30 to 60

Am J Ind Med. 2000 May;37(5):532-41. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(200005)37:5<532::aid-ajim9>3.0.co;2-a.


Background: Elevated rates of nasal and nasopharyngeal cancers have been associated with wood-related occupational exposures, including chlorophenols, formaldehyde, and wood dust.

Methods: Occupational information was obtained from 43 nasal carcinoma cases, 92 nasopharyngeal carcinoma cases, and 1909 controls, by interview. Exact conditional logistic regression was used to evaluate the association of these cancers with chlorophenol exposure, estimated from a review of verbatim responses.

Results: Both nasal and nasopharyngeal cancers were significantly associated with estimated duration of chlorophenol exposure. For nasopharyngeal cancer, elevated risk was observed among those who held jobs assigned medium or high intensity chlorophenol exposure (n(exposed)=18, OR=1.94, 95% CI=1.03-3.50) and among those with 10+ years in jobs assigned high intensity with high certainty (n(exposed)=3, OR=9.07, 95% CI=1.41-42. 9). Controlling for estimated formaldehyde and wood dust exposure did not alter these findings, as much of the estimated chlorophenol exposure was among machinists.

Conclusions: These findings support the hypothesis that occupational exposure to chlorophenol is a risk factor for nasal and nasopharyngeal cancer, although the role of machining-related exposures warrants further assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chlorophenols / adverse effects*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Dust / adverse effects
  • Fixatives / adverse effects
  • Formaldehyde / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Nose Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wood


  • Chlorophenols
  • Dust
  • Fixatives
  • Formaldehyde