Wood dust exposure and the association with lung cancer risk

Am J Ind Med. 2005 Apr;47(4):349-57. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20137.


Background: Wood dust was designated as a human carcinogen based on increased sinus and nasal cancer rates among exposed workers. However, data on an association with lung cancer have been inconclusive.

Methods: Self-reported wood dust exposure was compared between 1,368 lung cancer patients and 1,192 cancer-free adults, in a lung cancer case-control study. Epidemiological information was collected through a detailed personal interview.

Results: Using several definitions of wood dust exposure we consistently observed statistically significant elevated adjusted risk estimates; for example, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for combined wood dust related occupations and industries was 3.15 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.45-6.86) and for an overall summary exposure measure it was 1.60 (95% CI 1.19-2.14). The association was maintained when stratified by histopathological type. Among those exposed to cigarette smoke and wood dust, 21% of the cases were attributable to biologic interaction.

Conclusions: Wood dust exposure is a potential risk factor for lung cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dust*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wood*


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust