Study Population

Exposed Cases

Estimated Relative Risk (95% CI)

Unspecified Mixtures of Organic Solvents

Cohort Studies—Incidence

Anttila et al., 1995

Workers in Finland biologically monitored for halogenated hydrocarbons


0.46 (0.06–1.67)

Berlin et al., 1995

Patients with solvent-related disorders, ever exposed


1.5 (0.4–4.0)

Bourguet et al., 1987

Male tire and rubber manufacturing workers, ever exposed



Low solvent exposure




Medium solvent exposure




High solvent exposure



Cohort Study—Mortality

Morgan et al., 1981

Male paint and coatings manufacturing workers, ever employed



Melanoma and nonmelanoma




Description of Case-Control Studies

All breast cancer case-control studies were population-based and are identified in Table 6.20 below. Aschengrau and colleagues (1998) evaluated the relationship between the risk of breast cancer and exposure to tetrachloroethylene in drinking water, which was estimated on the basis of an algorithm that accounted for residential history, water flow, and pipe characteristics, as established by Webler and Brown (1993). Three other case-control studies evaluated breast cancer risk and occupational exposure (Band et al., 2000; Hansen, 1999; Petralia et al., 1999). Each of the studies ascertained exposure differently: through use of occupational titles (Band et al., 2000), through linkage of pension-fund occupational-history information with solvent use in industries (Hansen, 1999), and through interviews with subjects to obtain occupational histories, which were linked with job-exposure matrixes to assign cumulative exposure measures (Petralia et al., 1999). Potential confounding variables were handled adequately in three of the four studies (Aschengrau et al., 1998; Band et al., 2000; Petralia et al., 1999).

Epidemiologic Studies of Exposure to Organic Solvents and Breast Cancer

Risk of breast cancer was not increased in two Scandinavian studies of biologically monitored workers exposed to trichloroethylene (Anttila et al., 1995; Hansen et al., 2001). Among women exposed to trichloroethylene as aircraft-maintenance workers, Blair and colleagues (1998) found a risk of breast cancer associated with any exposure to trichloroethylene (SMR=1.8, 95% CI=0.9–3.3) and more than a 3-fold risk associated with continuous low exposure to trichloroethylene (SMR=3.4, 95% CI=1.4–8.0). Other cohort studies of aircraft workers in which trichloroethylene was considered a predominant solvent did not report increased mortality rates from breast cancer (male and female combined) (Boice et al., 1999; Morgan et al., 1998).

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