Cancer mortality in a historical cohort study of workers exposed to styrene

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1994 Aug;20(4):251-61. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.1400.


Objectives: The goal of this study was to determine whether exposure to styrene is associated with an increased risk for neoplasms of the lymphatic and hematopoietic tissues.

Methods: A historical cohort study was conducted in Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It involved 40,688 workers ever employed in the reinforced plastics industry, where high exposure to styrene occurs. Exposure to styrene was reconstructed through job histories and environmental and biological monitoring data. Cause-specific national death rates were used as the reference. Poisson regression was applied for internal comparisons.

Results: Among the exposed workers, no excess was observed for mortality from all neoplasms. Mortality from neoplasms of the lymphatic and hematopoietic tissues increased with time since first exposure and average level of exposure to styrene, but was not consistently associated with duration of exposure or with cumulative exposure.

Conclusions: These findings leave open the possibility of an excess risk of neoplasms of the lymphatic and hematopoietic tissues among workers exposed to styrene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / chemically induced
  • Leukemia / mortality
  • Lymphoma / chemically induced
  • Lymphoma / mortality
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Styrene
  • Styrenes / adverse effects*


  • Styrenes
  • Styrene