Study Population

Exposed Cases

Estimated Relative Risk (95% CI)

Partanen et al., 1991

Residents of Finland


Nonchlorinated solvents, males exposed >5 years


3.46 (0.91–13.2)

Harrington et al., 1989

Residents of the UK


Solvents, ever exposed


1.0 (0.2–4.9)

Sharpe et al., 1989

Residents of Canada


Organic solvents, regular exposure


1.68 (0.89–3.18)

Asal et al., 1988

Residents of Oklahoma



Painting or paint manufacturing, usual occupation


1.3 (0.7–2.6)

Jensen et al., 1988

Residents of Denmark


Painter or paint manufacturing, ever employed


1.8 (0.7–4.6)

NOTE: NA=not available.

a95% CI calculated by the committee with standard methods from the observed and expected numbers presented in the original study.


Description of Case-Control Studies

Three case-control studies of brain cancer were identified. They included different histologic types of brain cancer: astrocytic (Heineman et al., 1994; Thomas et al., 1987), gliomas (Rodvall et al., 1996), and unspecified brain cancers (Paulu et al., 1999). Occupational exposure information was obtained from next of kin (Heineman et al., 1994; Thomas et al., 1987) or from subjects (Rodvall et al., 1996), and in a study of tetrachloroethylene in drinking water the exposure information was based on water quality data (Paulu et al., 1999). In two studies, industrial hygienists attributed exposure to specific solvents on the basis of their own expertise and information provided by subjects (Rodvall et al., 1996; Thomas et al., 1987), and a job-exposure matrix was used in an updated analysis of the Thomas and colleagues’ study (1987) (Heineman et al., 1994) (see Table 6.31).

Epidemiologic Studies of Exposure to Organic Solvents and Brain and Central Nervous System Cancers

Most studies found null associations when investigating the relationship between trichloroethylene and risk of brain and other CNS cancers, including studies of workers biologically monitored for exposure (SIR=1.09, 95% CI=0.50–2.07) (Anttila et al., 1995), of workers in the aircraft and aerospace industries (Blair et al., 1998: SMR=0.8, 95% CI=0.2–2.2; Boice et al., 1999: SMR=0.54, 95% CI=0.15–1.37; Morgan et al., 1998: SMR=0.55, 95% CI=0.15–1.40), and of workers in transformer assembly (OR=0.93, 95% CI=0.32–2.69) (Greenland et al., 1994).

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