Background: The textile industry is one of the largest employers in Lithuania. IARC monograph concludes that working in the textile manufacturing industry entails exposures that are possibly carcinogenic to humans. The purpose of this study was to investigate risk of lung cancer incidence in textile industry workers by the type of job and evaluate the relation between occupational textile dusts exposure and lung cancer risk in a cohort.
Methods: Altogether 14650 textile workers were included in this retrospective study and were followed from 1978 to 2002. Lung cancer risk was analyzed using the standardized incidence ratios (SIR) calculated by the person-years method. The expected number of cases was calculated by indirect methods using Lithuanian incidence rates.
Results: During the period of 25 years 70 cancer cases for male and 15 for female were identified. The SIR for male was 0.94 (95% CI PI 0.73-1.19), for female 1.36 (95% CI 0.76-2.25). The lung cancer risk for male in the cotton textile production unit was significantly lower after 10 years of employment (SIR = 0.34; 95% CI 0.12-0.73). The lung cancer risk decreased with level of exposure to textile dust (p for trends was <0.05): the SIR for the low, medium, high and very high level of cumulative exposure were 1.91 (95% CI 0.92-3.51), 1.30 (95% CI 0.52-2.69), 0.77 (95% CI 0.21-1.96), and 0.24 (95% CI 0.03-0.86) respectively.
Conclusion: In our study the exposure to cotton textile dust at workplaces for male is associated with adverse lung cancer risk effects. High level of exposure to cotton dusts appears to be associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer in cotton textile workers.