Occupational exposure and lung cancer risk in a coastal area of northeastern Italy

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1993;65(1):35-41. doi: 10.1007/BF00586056.


A case-control study of lung cancer and occupational exposure was conducted in a coastal area of Northeastern Italy where metallurgical and mechanical industries, docks and shipyards are located. Cases comprised 756 men who died of primary lung cancer in a 5-year period. Controls comprised 756 male subjects dying from other causes during the same period. Occupational exposures to lung carcinogens were assessed according to a job title-based approach, using two separate lists of industries/occupations recognized as being causally associated (list A) or suspected of being causally associated (list B) with lung cancer in humans. Exposure to asbestos was classified as absent, possible, or definite. After adjustment for cigarette smoking and place of residence, a significant association was found between lung cancer and occupations in both list A [relative risk (RR) = 2.25, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.68-3.03] and list B (RR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.03-1.71). A significant excess risk was found for workers with definite exposure to asbestos as compared to those with no exposure to lung carcinogens (RR = 1.98, 95% CI = 1.42-2.75). Among occupations with recognized exposure to lung carcinogens other than asbestos, a significant excess risk for lung cancer was observed in iron and metalware workers. In occupational groups with definite exposure to asbestos, elevated risk estimates were found for shipyard workers, dockworkers, carpenters, and electricians. The combined effect of smoking and asbestos was found to be compatible with that expected under a multiplicative model. The overall population-attributable risk (ARp) for cigarette smoking was found to be 87.5%.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asbestos / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma / etiology
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Male
  • Metals / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Metals
  • Asbestos