Estimating occupational exposure to carcinogens in Quebec

Am J Ind Med. 2013 Sep;56(9):1040-50. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22200. Epub 2013 Jun 26.


Background: We estimated the extent of exposure to occupational carcinogens in Quebec, Canada, to help raise awareness of occupational cancers.

Methods: Proportions of workers exposed to 21 recognized and 17 probable carcinogens (according to Quebec occupational health regulation and the International Agency for Research on Cancer [IARC] classification) were extracted from various sources: workplace monitoring data, research projects, a population survey, radiation protection data, exposure estimates from the Carcinogen Exposure Canada (CAREX Canada) Project database, and published exposure data. These proportions were applied to Quebec labor force data.

Results: Among the 38 studied, carcinogens with the largest proportions of exposed workers were solar radiation (6.6% of workers), night shift work/rotating shift work including nights (6.0%), diesel exhaust fumes (4.4%), wood dust (2.9%) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (2.0%). More than 15 carcinogens were identified in several industrial sectors, and up to 100,000 young workers are employed in these sectors.

Conclusion: Although crude, estimates obtained with different data sources allow identification of research and intervention priorities for cancer in Quebec.

Keywords: cancer prevention; exposure assessment; intervention priorities; occupational carcinogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Carcinogens* / analysis
  • Databases, Factual
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Industry*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Health
  • Quebec
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Carcinogens