The global burden of disease due to occupational carcinogens

Am J Ind Med. 2005 Dec;48(6):419-31. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20209.


Background: The worldwide mortality and morbidity from lung cancer, leukemia, and malignant mesothelioma arising from occupational exposures to carcinogens are described. Cases reported in the year 2000 that resulted from relevant past and current exposures are assessed.

Methods: The proportions of workers exposed to the carcinogens of interest, and their levels of exposure, were estimated using workforce data and the CAREX (CARcinogen EXposure) database. These were combined with relative risk measures (for lung cancer and leukemia) or absolute risk measures (for malignant mesothelioma) to develop estimates of deaths, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and attributable fraction (for lung cancer and leukemia).

Results: There were an estimated 152,000 deaths (lung cancer: 102,000; leukemia: 7,000; and malignant mesothelioma: 43,000) and nearly 1.6 million DALYS (lung cancer: 969,000; leukemia: 101,000; and malignant mesothelioma: 564,000) due to exposure to occupational carcinogens.

Conclusions: Occupational carcinogens are an important cause of death and disability worldwide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinogens*
  • Databases as Topic
  • Female
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors


  • Carcinogens