Aim: Most data on carcinogenic risk in the rubber industry are based on data from Western countries. This study assessed cancer risks in a retrospective cohort in a Polish tire manufacturing plant, relying on quantified exposure to inhalable aerosols and aromatic amines instead of job titles or external comparisons.
Methods: Cumulative exposure for all exposures was assigned to cohort members based on estimates from a company-specific JEM. Cancer risks associated with cumulative exposure adjusted for co-exposures, gender and year of birth were calculated.
Results: Exposure levels were higher for women than for men. Aromatic amine exposure was significantly associated with increased urinary bladder cancer risk (RR=7.32-8.27), depending on exposure level, and prostate cancer at low levels only (RR=5.86). In women, increased risks were found for all cancers (RR=2.50) and of the digestive organs and peritoneum (RR=4.54) at low level only, while an exposure-response association with breast cancer risk was found. Inhalable aerosol exposure was associated with cancers of the liver and intrahepatic bile ducts in a dose-dependent manner, while dose-dependent reduced risks were found for respiratory cancers (most notably the larynx) and cancer of the colon.
Conclusions: Increased risks for specific cancer sites in this rubber plant were similar to Western Europe and the US. However, several cancer risks were gender-specific which could relate to higher exposure levels in women or to differences in exposures to chemicals not assessed in this study.