Exposure to crystalline silica in Canadian workplaces and the risk of kidney cancer

Publication type
Journal article
Peters CE, Bogaert L, Latifovic L, Kachuri L, Harris SA, Parent ME, Villeneuve PJ
Date published
2019 Sep 01
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Open Access?

OBJECTIVES: The causes of kidney cancer are not well understood though occupational exposures are thought to play a role. Crystalline silica is a known human carcinogen, and despite previous links with kidney disease, there have been few studies investigating its association with kidney cancer. We addressed this research gap using a population-based case-control study of Canadian men. METHODS: Questionnaire data were obtained from individuals with histologically confirmed kidney cancer, and population-based controls recruited from eight Canadian provinces (1994-1997). An industrial hygienist characterised participants' lifetime occupational exposure, and their confidence in the assessment (possibly, probably or definitely exposed) to silica on three dimensions (intensity, frequency and duration), and cumulative exposure was estimated. Logistic regression was used to estimate ORs and 95% CIs, adjusting for potential confounders. RESULTS: Nearly half of the 689 kidney cancer cases (49%) and 2369 controls (44%) had ever been occupationally exposed to crystalline silica. In a fully adjusted model, workers ever-exposed to silica had a slightly increased risk of kidney cancer relative to those who were unexposed (OR 1.10, 95% CI 0.92 to 1.32). Odds were modestly (and generally not statistically significantly) increased for models with duration of exposure and cumulative exposure, though exposure-response relationships were not evident. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings do not provide evidence that occupational exposure to crystalline silica increases risk of kidney cancer in men