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Suggests PVC-Cancer Link
From ENDS Daily - January 15, 1998
A correlation between occupational exposure to PVC and testicular cancer has emerged from a case-control study by the regional hospital at Örebro in central Sweden - the first time PVC has been linked to cancers of any kind. Published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Cancer the study has begun to generate interest in the Swedish and Norwegian media.
"The results are statistically safe and show a clear correlation," cancer specialist and study author Lennart Hardell told ENDS Daily today. "A large proportion of men who have had testicular cancer have been exposed to PVC during its production....At the same time, we have found no connection between testicular cancer and work with other types of plastics."
The evidence, he added, points to oestrogenic, or hormone mimicking, effects of phthalates as the likeliest reason for the correlation. Phthalates are chemical softeners used in PVC production, especially diethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP), which can account for up to 50% of PVC by weight.
"We thought these findings were interesting enough that we would release the main result early", Dr Hardell said. "The rest of the study will be published later this year."
The study concludes that a "surprisingly high risk" of testicular cancer was linked to exposure to PVC during its production. Of 148 cancer cases (101 seminomas and 47 cases of embroyonal testicular cancer), using 315 controls, "an increased odds ratio (OR) of 6.6 was found for exposure to... PVC.
"The induction latency period varied between 11 and 35 years, with a median time of 22 years. There were seven exposed cases, all but one seminomas.
Dr Hardell continued: "The men could have been exposed to PVC in three ways. They could have inhaled the steam from "liquid" PVC, they could have got in on their skin or they could have breathed in dust from the grinding or polishing of plastic products."
He added: "We have not studied carcinogenicity in relation to PVC plastics in consumer products. We have only studied those who have been exposed regularly to PVC as a raw material in the plastics industry."
Contacts: Lennart Hardell, Örebro Regional Hospital, tel: +46 19 15 15 46. References: "Occupational exposure to polyvinyl chloride as a risk factor for testicular cancer evaluated in a case-control study," International Journal of Cancer (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/jpages/0020- 7136), 73, 828-830 (1997).
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