Occupation and bladder cancer: a population-based, case-control study in Iowa

J Occup Environ Med. 2002 Jul;44(7):685-91. doi: 10.1097/00043764-200207000-00016.


While considerable efforts have been made to investigate the role of occupation and industry in the risk of bladder cancer, many reported associations have not been consistent, and strong evidence of increased risk is apparent for few occupational groups. To further examine the issue, a large, population-based, case-control study was conducted in the state of Iowa among both men and women. A total of 1452 incident bladder cancer cases and 2434 controls were included in the study. Occupational history was collected from respondents for each job held for 5 years or longer since age 16. Among men, excess risk was observed for industries including plumbing, heating, and air conditioning (odds ratio [OR], = 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0 to 5.0); rubber and plastic products (OR = 3.1; 95% CI, 1.2 to 8.5), motor vehicle parts and supplies (OR = 4.5; 95% CI, 1.2 to 16.5), and occupations including supervisors for transportation and material moving (OR = 6.5; 95% CI, 1.4 to 29.9), material-moving-equipment operators (OR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.0 to 3.6), automobile mechanics (OR = 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0 to 2.6), painters (OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 1.0 to 7.7), and metal- and plastic-working machine operators (OR = 2.0; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.4). Among women, significant excess risk was observed for secondary school teachers and record clerks. Housekeepers and butlers and workers in laundering and dry cleaning were also at increased risk. In conclusion, these results suggest that occupational exposures may play a significant role in the risk of bladder cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iowa / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations*
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / etiology