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1.  Generation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) during woodworking operations 
Frontiers in Oncology  2012;2:148.
Occupational exposures to wood dust have been associated with an elevated risk of sinonasal cancer (SNC). Wood dust is recognized as a human carcinogen but the specific cancer causative agent remains unknown. One possible explanation is a co-exposure to; wood dust and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs could be generated during incomplete combustion of wood due to heat created by use of power tools. To determine if PAHs are generated from wood during common wood working operations, PAH concentrations in wood dust samples collected in an experimental chamber operated under controlled conditions were analyzed. In addition, personal air samples from workers exposed to wood dust (n = 30) were collected. Wood dust was generated using three different power tools: vibrating sander, belt sander, and saw; and six wood materials: fir, Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), beech, mahogany, oak and wood melamine. Monitoring of wood workers was carried out by means of personal sampler device during wood working operations. We measured 21 PAH concentrations in wood dust samples by capillary gas chromatography-ion trap mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Total PAH concentrations in wood dust varied greatly (0.24–7.95 ppm) with the lowest being in MDF dust and the highest in wood melamine dust. Personal PAH exposures were between 37.5–119.8 ng m−3 during wood working operations. Our results suggest that PAH exposures are present during woodworking operations and hence could play a role in the mechanism of cancer induction related to wood dust exposure.
PMCID: PMC3475003  PMID: 23087908
wood dust; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; occupational exposure; sinonasal cancer; wood operations
2.  Maternal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and the secondary sex ratio: an occupational cohort study 
Environmental Health  2011;10:20.
Though commercial production of polychlorinated biphenyls was banned in the United States in 1977, exposure continues due to their environmental persistence. Several studies have examined the association between environmental polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and modulations of the secondary sex ratio, with conflicting results.
Our objective was to evaluate the association between maternal preconceptional occupational polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and the secondary sex ratio.
We examined primipara singleton births of 2595 women, who worked in three capacitor plants at least one year during the period polychlorinated biphenyls were used. Cumulative estimated maternal occupational polychlorinated biphenyl exposure at the time of the infant's conception was calculated from plant-specific job-exposure matrices. A logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between maternal polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and male sex at birth (yes/no).
Maternal body mass index at age 20, smoking status, and race did not vary between those occupationally exposed and those unexposed before the child's conception. Polychlorinated biphenyl-exposed mothers were, however, more likely to have used oral contraceptives and to have been older at the birth of their first child than non-occupationally exposed women. Among 1506 infants liveborn to polychlorinated biphenyl-exposed primiparous women, 49.8% were male; compared to 49.9% among those not exposed (n = 1089). Multivariate analyses controlling for mother's age and year of birth found no significant association between the odds of a male birth and mother's cumulative estimated polychlorinated biphenyl exposure to time of conception.
Based on these data, we find no evidence of altered sex ratio among children born to primiparous polychlorinated biphenyl-exposed female workers.
PMCID: PMC3070618  PMID: 21418576
3.  Research Recommendations for Selected IARC-Classified Agents 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2010;118(10):1355-1362.
There are some common occupational agents and exposure circumstances for which evidence of carcinogenicity is substantial but not yet conclusive for humans. Our objectives were to identify research gaps and needs for 20 agents prioritized for review based on evidence of widespread human exposures and potential carcinogenicity in animals or humans.
Data sources
For each chemical agent (or category of agents), a systematic review was conducted of new data published since the most recent pertinent International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monograph meeting on that agent.
Data extraction
Reviewers were charged with identifying data gaps and general and specific approaches to address them, focusing on research that would be important in resolving classification uncertainties. An expert meeting brought reviewers together to discuss each agent and the identified data gaps and approaches.
Data synthesis
Several overarching issues were identified that pertained to multiple agents; these included the importance of recognizing that carcinogenic agents can act through multiple toxicity pathways and mechanisms, including epigenetic mechanisms, oxidative stress, and immuno- and hormonal modulation.
Studies in occupational populations provide important opportunities to understand the mechanisms through which exogenous agents cause cancer and intervene to prevent human exposure and/or prevent or detect cancer among those already exposed. Scientific developments are likely to increase the challenges and complexities of carcinogen testing and evaluation in the future, and epidemiologic studies will be particularly critical to inform carcinogen classification and risk assessment processes.
PMCID: PMC2957912  PMID: 20562050
animal; carcinogen; carcinogenesis; epidemiology; human; IARC; mechanisms of carcinogenicity; occupational
4.  Occupational Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Risk of Breast Cancer 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2008;117(2):276-282.
Despite the endocrine system activity exhibited by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), recent studies have shown little association between PCB exposure and breast cancer mortality.
To further evaluate the relation between PCB exposure and breast cancer risk, we studied incidence, a more sensitive end point than mortality, in an occupational cohort.
We followed 5,752 women employed for at least 1 year in one of three capacitor manufacturing facilities, identifying cases from questionnaires, cancer registries, and death certificates through 1998. We collected lifestyle and reproductive information via questionnaire from participants or next of kin and used semiquantitative job-exposure matrices for inhalation and dermal exposures combined. We generated standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and standardized rate ratios and used Cox proportional hazards regression models to evaluate potential confounders and effect modifiers.
Overall, the breast cancer SIR was 0.81 (95% confidence interval, 0.72–0.92; n = 257), and regression modeling showed little effect of employment duration or cumulative exposure. However, for the 362 women of questionnaire-identified races other than white, we observed positive, statistically significant associations with employment duration and cumulative exposure; only smoking, birth cohort, and self- or proxy questionnaire completion had statistically significant explanatory power when added to models with exposure metrics.
We found no overall elevation in breast cancer risk after occupational exposure to PCBs. However, the exposure-related risk elevations seen among nonwhite workers, although of limited interpretability given the small number of cases, warrant further investigation, because the usual reproductive risk factors accounted for little of the increased risk.
PMCID: PMC2649231  PMID: 19270799
breast cancer; incidence; occupational epidemiology; polychlorinated biphenyls

Results 1-4 (4)