Wilcosky found increased risk estimates associated with almost all exposures, including ethyl acetate (OR=5.3, p<0.05) and acetone (OR=6.8, p<0.01); this study was a large-scale investigation of rubber workers in which individual estimates for a variety of solvents were made on the basis of company records. Bernard and colleagues (1984) found a positive association between lymphatic leukemia and occupational solvents, excluding benzene (OR=1.56, 95% CI =0.47–5.17). Among rubber workers, relative risks increased with increasing estimated levels of exposure to mixed solvents (McMichael et al., 1975; Wolf et al., 1981). A cohort study of lymphatic leukemia in nuclear-plant workers found increased risk associated with jobs entailing exposure to unspecified mixtures of organic solvents (RR=1.99, 95% CI=0.46–8.67) (Stern et al., 1986).

No conclusions were drawn on an association between exposure to benzene, other specific organic solvents, or unspecified mixtures of solvents and lymphatic leukemia. Table 6.43 identifies the key studies on lymphatic leukemia reviewed by the committee. Unless indicated in the table, the study populations include both men and women.

TABLE 6.43 Selected Epidemiologic Studies—Lymphatic Leukemia and Exposure to Organic Solvents

Reference

Study Population

Exposed Cases

Estimated Relative Risk (95% CI)

Benzene

Cohort Studies—Mortality

Wilcosky et al., 1984

White, male US rubber workers, exposed >1 year

4

2.5

Arp et al., 1983

US rubber workers

 

 

Primary exposure to benzene

3

4.50

 

Secondary exposure to benzene

2

1.50

Case-Control Study

Bernard et al., 1984

Male residents of Yorkshire, England, ever exposed

NA

3.06 (0.98–11.97)

Other Specific Solvents

Cohort Study—Mortality

Wilcosky et al., 1984

White, male US rubber workers, exposed >1 year

 

 

Acetone

3

6.8

 

Ethanol

4

2.0

 

Ethyl acetate

3

5.3

 

Isopropanol

6

1.8

 

Solvent “A” (mixture of toluene and other solvents)

7

2.8

 

Specialty naphthas

8

2.8

 

Perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethylene)

1

 

Phenol

1

 

Toluene

2

3.0

 

Trichloroethylene

2

0.81

 

VM and P naphthas

3

2.9

 

Xylenes

4

3.3

Unspecified Mixtures of Solvents

Cohort Studies—Mortality

Stern et al., 1986

Male Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers

 

 

Solvent job

NA

1.99 (0.46–8.67)

Arp et al., 1983

US rubber workers

 

 

Primary exposure to other solvents

11

4.50

 

Secondary exposure to other solvent

8

1.60



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