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1.  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
2.  Mortality and Exposure Response among 14,458 Electrical Capacitor Manufacturing Workers Exposed to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2006;114(10):1508-1514.
We expanded an existing cohort of workers (n = 2,588) considered highly exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at two capacitor manufacturing plants to include all workers with at least 90 days of potential PCB exposure during 1939–1977 (n = 14,458). Causes of death of a priori interest included liver and rectal cancers, previously reported for the original cohort, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), melanoma, and breast, brain, intestine, stomach, and prostate cancers, based on other studies.
We ascertained vital status of the workers through 1998, and cumulative PCB exposure was estimated using a new job exposure matrix. Analyses employed standardized mortality ratios (SMRs; U.S., state, and county referents) and Poisson regression modeling.
Mortality from NHL, melanoma, and rectal, breast, and brain cancers were neither in excess nor associated with cumulative exposure. Mortality was not elevated for liver cancer [21 deaths; SMR 0.89; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.55–1.36], but increased with cumulative exposure (trend p-value = 0.071). Among men, stomach cancer mortality was elevated (24 deaths; SMR 1.53; 95% CI, 0.98–2.28) and increased with cumulative exposure (trend p-value = 0.039). Among women, intestinal cancer mortality was elevated (67 deaths; SMR 1.31; 95% CI, 1.02–1.66), especially in higher cumulative exposure categories, but without a clear trend. Prostate cancer mortality, which was not elevated (34 deaths; SMR 1.04; 95% CI, 0.72–1.45), increased with cumulative exposure (trend p-value = 0.0001).
This study corroborates previous studies showing increased liver cancer mortality, but we cannot clearly associate rectal, stomach, and intestinal cancers with PCB exposure. This is the first PCB cohort showing a strong exposure–response relationship for prostate cancer mortality.
PMCID: PMC1626402  PMID: 17035134
cancer; electrical capacitor manufacturing; liver cancer; mortality; occupational exposure; PCBs; polychlorinated biphenyls; prostate cancer
3.  Update: cohort mortality study of workers highly exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during the manufacture of electrical capacitors, 1940-1998 
Environmental Health  2006;5:13.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health previously reported mortality for a cohort of workers considered highly exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) between 1939 and 1977 at two electrical capacitor manufacturing plants. The current study updated vital status, examined liver and rectal cancer mortality previously reported in excess in this cohort and evaluated mortality from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and cancers of the stomach, intestine, breast, prostate, skin (melanoma) and brain reported to be in excess in other cohort and case-control studies of PCB-exposed persons.
Mortality was updated through 1998 for 2572 workers. Age-, gender-, race- and calendar year-adjusted standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using U.S., state and county referent rates. SMRs using U.S. referent rates are reported. Duration of employment was used as a surrogate for exposure.
Consistent with the previous follow-up, mortality from biliary passage, liver and gall bladder cancer was significantly elevated (11 deaths, SMR 2.11, CI 1.05 – 3.77), but mortality from rectal cancer was not (6 deaths, SMR 1.47, CI 0.54 – 3.21). Among women, mortality from intestinal cancer (24 deaths, SMR 1.89, CI 1.21 – 2.82) and from "other diseases of the nervous system and sense organs", which include Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (15 deaths, SMR 2.07, CI 1.16 – 3.42) were elevated. There were four ALS deaths, all women (SMR 4.35, CI 1.19–11.14). Mortality was elevated for myeloma (7 deaths, SMR 2.11, CI 0.84 – 4.34), particularly among workers employed 10 years or more (5 deaths, SMR 2.80, CI 0.91 – 6.54). No linear associations between mortality and duration of employment were observed for the cancers of interest.
This update found that the earlier reported excess in this cohort for biliary, liver and gall bladder cancer persisted with longer follow-up. Excess mortality for intestinal cancer among women was elevated across categories of duration of employment; myeloma mortality was highest among those working 10 years or more. The small numbers of deaths from liver and intestinal cancers, myeloma and nervous system diseases coupled with the lack of an exposure-response relationship with duration of employment preclude drawing definitive conclusions regarding PCB exposure and these causes of death.
PMCID: PMC1524943  PMID: 16716225
4.  Mortality among Workers Exposed to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in an Electrical Capacitor Manufacturing Plant in Indiana: An Update 
An Indiana capacitor-manufacturing cohort (n = 3,569) was exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from 1957 to 1977. The original study of mortality through 1984 found excess melanoma and brain cancer; other studies of PCB-exposed individuals have found excess non-Hodgkin lymphoma and rectal, liver, biliary tract, and gallbladder cancer. Mortality was updated through 1998. Analyses have included standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using rates for Indiana and the United States, standardized rate ratios (SRRs), and Poisson regression rate ratios (RRs). Estimated cumulative exposure calculations used a new job–exposure matrix. Mortality overall was reduced (547 deaths; SMR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.7–0.9). Non-Hodgkin lymphoma mortality was elevated (9 deaths; SMR, 1.23; 95% CI, 0.6–2.3). Melanoma remained in excess (9 deaths; SMR, 2.43; 95% CI, 1.1–4.6), especially in the lowest tertile of estimated cumulative exposure (5 deaths; SMR, 3.72; 95% CI, 1.2–8.7). Seven of the 12 brain cancer deaths (SMR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.0–3.3) occurred after the original study. Brain cancer mortality increased with exposure (in the highest tertile, 5 deaths; SMR, 2.71; 95% CI, 0.9–6.3); the SRR dose–response trend was significant (p = 0.016). Among those working ≥90 days, both melanoma (8 deaths; SMR, 2.66; 95% CI, 1.1–5.2) and brain cancer (11 deaths; SMR, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.1–3.8) were elevated, especially for women: melanoma, 3 deaths (SMR, 5.99; 95% CI, 1.2–17.5); brain cancer, 3 deaths (SMR, 2.87; 95% CI, 0.6–8.4). These findings of excess melanoma and brain cancer mortality confirm results of the original study. Melanoma mortality was not associated with estimated cumulative exposure. Brain cancer mortality did not demonstrate a clear dose–response relationship with estimated cumulative exposure.
PMCID: PMC1332650  PMID: 16393652
cancer; cohort study; exposure assessment; occupational exposure; polychlorinated biphenyls

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