Personal and occupational exposure to organic solvents and risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in women (United States)

Cancer Causes Control. 2005 Dec;16(10):1215-24. doi: 10.1007/s10552-005-0385-4.


Objectives: The authors assessed whether home and occupational exposure to organic solvents is associated with risk of NHL in women.

Methods: A population-based, incidence case-control study was conducted in upstate New York, involving 376 NHL cases and 463 population controls selected from the Medicare beneficiary files and State driver's license records. Exposure information was obtained by telephone interview. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using an unconditional logistic regression model, adjusting for a number of risk factors for NHL.

Results: Overall, history of exposure to organic solvents was not associated with the risk of NHL. A statistically significant increase in risk associated with occupational exposure was observed only for the subjects whose first exposure occurred before 1970 (OR=1.87, 95% CI 1.03-3.40). When occupational and home exposures to paint thinners/turpentine were combined and analyzed together, the risk of NHL associated with any exposure, compared to no exposure at either job or home, was a statistically significantly increased (OR=1.46, 95% CI: 1.05-2.03). This observation was more pronounced for B-cell lymphoma and for low-grade lymphoma with ORs of 1.52 (95 CI: 1.08-2.14) and 2.20 (95% CI; 1.42-3.41), respectively.

Conclusions: The results of this case-control study do support of a major role of organic solvents in the development of NHL among women currently living in the US. However, relatively intensive exposure in past occupations and use of paint thinners/turpentine may deserve further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Turpentine / adverse effects


  • Solvents
  • Turpentine