We examined the relationships between occupational exposures and the risk of multiple myeloma among male construction workers in Sweden. A total of 446 myeloma subjects were identified among 365,424 male workers followed from 1971 to 1999. Occupational exposure was assessed using a semiquantitative job-exposure matrix, based on a survey carried out by the Construction Industry's Organization for Working Environment, Occupational Safety and Health in Sweden. Rate ratios (RRs) in the exposed groups relative to the unexposed groups were estimated by Poisson regression. We found an increased risk (RR = 1.3, 95% CI 1.04-1.71) among construction workers exposed to diesel exhaust. Adjustment for other occupational exposures did not change this estimate (RR = 1.3, 95% CI 1.00-1.77). However, there was no monotonic increase in risk with estimated level of exposure (RR for low = 1.4, moderate = 1.1, high = 1.4). There was no evidence of increased risk associated with the other occupational exposures among these construction workers, including asbestos, asphalt, cement dust, metal dust, mineral wool, organic solvents, stone dust and wood dust. Occupational exposure to diesel exhaust in the Swedish construction industry may present a small risk of multiple myeloma, but lack of an exposure-response trend tempers our ability to draw clear conclusions.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.