Background: A surveillance study of bladder cancer incidence in northwestern Illinois detected a number of cases who had worked in a large steel manufacturing plant. To investigate these cancers further, a nested case-control study of bladder cancer was conducted at this plant.
Methods: Cases from the surveillance study were matched to company personnel files. Four controls per case were selected from company files and frequency matched on age (cases and controls were all white males). Employment histories were abstracted from company records and odds ratios calculated according to job titles and departments worked. Cases and controls who held only white collar jobs were excluded from the analysis.
Results: Results for 16 cases and 75 controls showed elevated odds ratios for heaters (OR = 21.1, 95% cCI = 2.2-205.8) based on three cases. Heaters monitored electric reheat furnaces and may have been exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Previous studies have shown moderate risks for bladder cancer among furnace operators, but most of these studies were also based on a small number of cases.
Conclusions: Additional studies of furnace operators' exposures and cancer risks are needed to investigate these results further.