Silica dust, diesel exhaust, and painting work are the significant occupational risk factors for lung cancer in nonsmoking Chinese men

Br J Cancer. 2011 Jan 4;104(1):208-13. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6606006. Epub 2010 Nov 23.


Background: Few epidemiological studies have explored the associations between occupational exposures and lung cancer in lifelong nonsmoking men.

Methods: We obtained lifetime occupational history and other relevant information for 132 newly diagnosed lung cancer cases among nonsmoking Chinese men and 536 nonsmoking community referents. Unconditional multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate the odds ratio (OR) of lung cancer for specific occupational exposures.

Results: Significantly increased lung cancer risk was found for nonsmoking workers occupationally exposed to silica dust (OR=2.58, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.11, 6.01), diesel exhaust (OR=3.47, 95% CI: 1.08, 11.14), spray painting (OR=2.81, 95% CI: 1.14, 6.93), and nonspray painting work (OR=2.36, 95% CI: 1.04, 5.37). Silica dust exposure was associated with a significantly increased risk of adenocarcinoma (OR=2.91, 95% CI: 1.10, 7.68). We observed a positive gradient of all lung cancers and of adenocarcinoma with duration of employment for workers exposed to silica dust and spray painting.

Conclusion: This study found an increased risk of lung cancer among nonsmoking Chinese men occupationally exposed to silica dust, diesel exhaust, and painting work.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Dust
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Paint / adverse effects*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Silicon Dioxide / adverse effects*
  • Vehicle Emissions*


  • Dust
  • Vehicle Emissions
  • Silicon Dioxide