Occupational exposure to solvents and gasoline and risk of cancers in the urinary tract among Finnish workers

Am J Ind Med. 2008 Sep;51(9):668-72. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20606.


Background: Bladder cancer (BC) is generally considered as an occupational disease, and some chemical exposures may also be associated with renal cell cancer (RCC). The aim of this study was to estimate the risk of cancers of the urinary tract in relation to occupational exposure to solvents and gasoline.

Methods: A cross-sectional cohort of all economically active Finns from the 1970 population census was followed up for BC (10,277 cases) and RCC (9,954 cases). Census occupations were assigned estimates of exposure to hydrocarbon (HC) solvents and gasoline with a job exposure matrix. Relative risk (RR) estimates were defined using Poisson regression models, adjusted for smoking and obesity.

Results: Exposure to solvents was positively associated with the incidence of BC in women but not in men. The RR estimates were above 1.2 in nearly all exposure categories of all exposures studied but a statistically significant excess was only seen for middle levels of chlorinated HC solvents (1.7; 95% CI = 1.2-2.5) and a low level of aromatic HC solvents (1.6; 95% CI = 1.3-2.1). The RR estimates for RCC were close to unity in all categories of exposure.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that occupational exposure to certain solvents may have an impact on BC risk. The risk of RCC does not appear to be altered by exposure to HC solvents or gasoline.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Gasoline / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons / adverse effects
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Urologic Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Urologic Neoplasms / epidemiology*


  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • Gasoline
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Solvents