Objective: Several studies have suggested that there is an occupational component to the causation of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). We aimed to use accurate means to assess occupational exposures to solvents, metals, organic dusts and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a case-control study.
Methods: Cases were incident NHLs during 2000 and 2001 in two regions of Australia. Controls were randomly selected from the electoral roll and frequency matched to cases by age, sex and region. A detailed occupational history was taken from each subject. For jobs with likely exposure to the chemicals of interest, additional questions were asked by telephone interview using modified job specific modules. An expert allocated exposures using the information in the job histories and the interviews. Odds ratios were calculated for each exposure adjusting for age, sex, region and ethnic origin.
Results: 694 cases and 694 controls (70 and 45 respectively of those potentially eligible) participated. The risk of NHL was increased by about 30 for exposure to any solvent with a dose response relationship, subgroup analysis showed the finding was restricted to solvents other than benzene. Exposure to wood dust also increased the risk of NHL slightly. Exposures to other organic dusts, metals, and PCBs were not strongly related to NHL.
Conclusions: The risk of NHL appears to be increased by exposure to solvents other than benzene and possibly to wood dust.