Lifetime Prevalence Of Occupational Exposures To Carcinogens In France: Providing Input To Estimate Cancer Attributable To Carcinogens At Work Place

Claire MARANT MICALLEF, International Agency for Research on Cancer, France
STRAIF K. 1 , OLSSON A. 1 , GILG SOIT ILG A. 6 , GUÉNEL P. 5 , FERVERS B. 4 , CHARBOTEL B. 3 , BALDI I. 2 , SHIELD K. 1 , RUSHTON L. 7 , BRAY F. 1 , SOERJOMATARAM I. 1

1 International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
2 Equipe Santé Environnement, Centre de recherche INSERM U 897, Bordeaux, France
3 Service des maladies professionnelles, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon, France
4 Centre Léon Bérard, Unité cancer environnement, Lyon, France
5 Centre de recherche en Epidémiologie et Santé des Populations, France
6 InVS Département Santé Travail, Saint Maurice, France
7 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College of London, London, UK

Purpose
A previous study reported that 3.7% of cancer mortality in France was attributable to occupational carcinogen exposures although this study did not comprehensively assess lifetime carcinogen exposure. The aim of this study was to estimate the proportion of the French population ever exposed to occupational carcinogens, and use these estimates as input to calculate attributable fractions.
 
Methods
To account for a biological latency of 10 to 50 years between carcinogen exposure and cancer incidence, we estimated lifetime exposure over the period 1965-2005. The prevalences of cross-sectional occupational exposures were obtained from the SUMER surveys (Surveillance Médicale des expositions aux risques professionnels) which contained data on 50,000 French workers for the years 1994, 2003 and 2010. Using an established method, lifetime occupational exposures were estimated using data from French labour surveys to estimate national changes in the number of workers and sector-dependent employment turnover rates.
 
Results
We estimated the lifetime exposure to 59 physical and chemical carcinogens and occupations classified as group 1 or 2A by IARC Monographs. For example, between 1965 and 2005, 1.8% of the French male population had worked as painters. By comparison, a UK study using the same methodology indicated a higher proportion of painters: 5.8% of males had been a painter within the same period. The UK study showed that 1.2% of lung cancers were related to painting, an estimate that is expected to be lower in France due to lower exposure.
 
Conclusions
This study seeks to estimate the lifetime exposure to occupational carcinogens in France. They will provide the necessary input to estimate the fraction of cancers attributable to occupational exposures in the country in 2015, enabling comparisons with other countries. These results provide a vital evidence base for planning national strategies to ensure healthy working conditions.
 
Funding source: Institut National du Cancer, France