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Creosote and cancer -Cancer incidence among workers exposed to creosote
1990 - IRG/WP 3572
Creosote is a wood preservative that contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to be carcinogenic. Cancer incidence among 919 male workers in Sweden and Norway exposed to creosote in the wood preserving industry was studied. The expected numbers of cases were based on the incidence rates of cancer according to the Cancer Registries of Sweden and Norway. A total of 129 cancer cases was observed for the entire cohort, 137 cases being expected. The total cancer morbidity was thus somewhat lower than expected. Nine cases of cancer of the skin (squamous cell carcinoma) were observed, four cases being expected. This study does not confirm that exposure to creosote in the wood preserving industry has caused an excess of total cancer morbidity. The study indicates, however, that exposure to creosote might increase the incidence of skin cancer. Ultra-violet light is known to be a factor of importance in generating this type of cancer. Since the impregnation work as mainly carried out in the open air the explanation to the excess morbidity might be a combined effect of creosote and sun light.
S Karlehagen, A Andersen, C-G Ohlson


La rĂ´le de l'expert dans l'Ă©valuation toxicologique
1990 - IRG/WP 3589
C Boudene


SEM of wood dust particles
1997 - IRG/WP 97-50084
Dust particles from beech and oak trees have been classified in Germany as being "working materials which are definitely carcinogenic to humans". All other wood dusts, including those from softwoods, are classified as being materials "with reasonable suspicion of carcinogenic potential". The carcinogenic principle of action continues to remain unclear. The mechanical irritation is one of a number of possible triggering principles. In this connection the morphology of the dust particles is of decisive importance. With the aid of a scanning electron microscope this study characterises the dust from spruce, Scots pine, beech and oak. With regard to shape and size the dust particles of all sample collections were divided into 5 groups with principle structural similarity. Therefore a different particle morphology with correspondingly different mechanical irritation in the nose can not be the main principle of action. When compared to asbestos fibers, the small amount of fibrous dust particles as one of the five groups could be clearly distinguished by their structure and dimensions. Mechanical irritation as the main principle of action in the formation of malignant nasal tumors is also contradicted by the findings of different working groups which have established a strong association between hardwood dust and adenocarcinomas of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, and a connection between softwood dust and other types of nasal carcinoma.
U Schmitt, R-D Peek, A O Rapp


Inorganic preservatives in wood dust - Cause of nasal cancer?
1997 - IRG/WP 97-50085
Since 1985 dust particles from beech and oak trees have been classified by the Senate Commission of the German Research Council (DFG) as being ,,working materials which are definitely carcinogenic to humans". All other wood dusts, including those from softwoods, are classified as being materials ,,with reasonable suspicion of carcinogenic potential". The carcinogenic principle of action continues to remain unclear despite some partial findings of new studies. The load of wood dust with non-genuine chemicals especially heavy metals is one of a number of possible triggering principles. This study describes wood dust collected in 33 German wood processing companies, with regard to concentration of the dust in the air and load of the dust with chromium, copper and boron. More often than expected the machining of preservative treated wood was found. Besides wood preservatives other sources of contamination of wood dust have been identified. Woodworkers are exposed to higher levels of chromium, copper and boron than average citizen, but are far away from threshold values. The heavy metal exposure levels found seem to be unlikely the sole carcinogenic principle of action.
A O Rapp, K Brandt, R-D Peek, U Schmitt


Cancer incidence among CCA exposed workers in the wood preserving industry
1995 - IRG/WP 95-50040-09
CCA wood preservatives - Copper, hexavalent, Chromium and tri-or pentavalent, Arsenic - has been used in the Nordic countries since mid 1930. Trivalent arsenic and hexavalent chromium compounds are toxic and cancerogenic while pentavalent arsenate and trivalent chromium are less hazardous. In impregnation, the compounds of CCA are fixed in the wood as insoluble trivalent chromium and copper pentavalent arsenate. The aim of this study was to investigate the cancer risks among exposed workers in Sweden and Norway. The observation periods were 1958-89 and 1954-92 respectively. In all, the cancer experience of more than 1000 men were followed. The observed numbers of cancer cases within each calendar year and five year age group were compared to the corresponding numbers expected from the national cancer rates, yielding a standardized incidence ratio (SIR). The analyses are not yet completed but so far 78 cancer cases were observed as to 100,3 expected (SIR = 0,78). Nor were the risks increased in sites most likely to be effected by the exposure, i.e. the skin and the lungs (SIR's = 0,95 and 0,33 respectively). An extended follow-up is necessary to permit firm conclusions. However, the findings do not indicate a substantial cancer risk with exposure to CCA preservatives.
C-G Ohlson, A Andersen, F G Evans, S Karlehagen, K Nilsson


Evaluation of literature on adenocarcinomas in wood workers
1997 - IRG/WP 97-50092
Occupational exposure to wood dust alone or chemically treated is suspected to be associated with an increased risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the nasal cavity, which in the general population is very rare; fewer than 10% of nasal cancer deaths are adenocarcinomas, which have an annual incidence of 1-2 per million. However, the epidemiological data available are not sufficient to make a definitive assessment between occupational exposure to wood and increased risk for cancer. The data presently available are not sufficient to make a definitive assessment between wood dust exposure and increased risk for cancer other than nasal cancer and do not clearly identify the specific agent(s) responsible for these effects. Therefore, a review of literature was carried out from the standpoint of a wood scientist. The results reported in this paper are necessary to understand the association between wood dust exposure and nasal cavity tumors, along with demographic differences in cancer rates, and to develop strategies for intervention and reduction of disease causing agents in order to reduce risk to wood industry workers.
A Voss, R-D Peek