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Risk of bladder cancer rising for workers in many industries

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Staff writer ▼ | October 13, 2015
Despite efforts to protect workers and provide safe working environments, the risk of bladder cancer is still rising in certain industries, a new study finds.
Tobacco worker
Study   Following exposure to carcinogens
Most cases of this common form of cancer develop following exposure to carcinogens that are inhaled, ingested or come into contact with the skin, the researchers explained.

Bladder cancer is also often tied to smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke, said a team led by James Catto, of the University of Sheffield in England.

In the study, Catto's group reviewed data from 263 studies involving 31 million people worldwide.

The new analysis revealed an increased risk of developing bladder cancer in 42 out of 61 occupational classes, and an increased risk of dying from bladder cancer in 16 out of 40 occupational classes.

Those at greatest risk from the malignancy were workers exposed to chemicals known as aromatic amines. Exposures often occurred when people worked with tobacco, dye, rubber, printers, leather and hair products.

Also at high risk for bladder cancer and death from the disease were those exposed to heavy metals, diesel and combustion products. People working around toxins called polycystic aromatic hydrocarbons were at heightened risk, the study found.

People exposed to these potential carcinogens include metal workers, electricians, mechanics, military service members, chimney sweeps, nurses, waiters, aluminum workers, seamen and oil/petroleum workers, Catto's team reported.

Meanwhile, lower rates of bladder cancer were found in six out of 61 occupational classes and reduced risk of death from the disease was identified in just two of 40 classes. People working in agriculture were among those with the lowest risk, the researchers noted in a journal news release.