Occupational exposure to trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene and the risk of lymphoma, liver, and kidney cancer in four Nordic countries
Objectives Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Perchloroethylene (PER) are two chlorinated solvents that are applied widely as degreasers of metal parts, and in dry cleaning and other applications. In 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified TCE as carcinogenic to humans and PER as probably carcinogenic to humans. We explored exposure–response relations for TCE and PER and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), multiple myeloma (MM), and cancers of the kidney and liver in the Nordic Occupational Cancer cohort.
Methods The cohort was set up by linking occupational information from censuses to national cancer registry data using personal identity codes in use in all Nordic countries. Country, time period, and job-specific exposure estimates were generated for TCE, PER and potentially confounding occupational exposures with a job-exposure matrix. A conditional logistic regression was conducted for exposure groups as well as for continuous cumulative exposure.
Results HRs for liver cancer, NHL and MM but not kidney cancer were slightly elevated in groups with high exposure to PER (compared to occupationally unexposed subjects). HRs for liver cancer and NHL also increased with increasing continuous exposure to PER. We did not observe evidence for an association between exposure to TCE and NHL, MM or liver and kidney cancer.
Conclusions Although this study was subject to limitations related to the low prevalence of exposure to PER and TCE in the Nordic population and a limited exposure assessment strategy, we observed some evidence indicative of an excess risk of cancer of the liver and NHL in subjects exposed to PER.