Cancer incidence among Minnesota taconite mining industry workers

Elizabeth M. Allen, Bruce H. Alexander, Richard F. MacLehose, Heather H. Nelson, Gurumurthy Ramachandran, Jeffrey H. Mandel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate cancer incidence among Minnesota taconite mining workers. Methods: We evaluated cancer incidence between 1988 and 2010 in a cohort of 40,720 Minnesota taconite mining workers used between 1937 and 1983. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by comparing numbers of incident cancers with frequencies in the Minnesota Cancer Surveillance System. SIRs for lung cancer by histologic subtypes were also estimated. We adjusted for out-of-state migration and conducted a probabilistic bias analysis for smoking-related cancers. Results: A total of 5700 cancers were identified, including 51 mesotheliomas and 973 lung cancers. The SIRs for lung cancer and mesothelioma were 1.3 (95% CI = 1.2-1.4) and 2.4 (95% CI = 1.8-3.2), respectively. Stomach, laryngeal, and bladder cancers were also elevated. However, adjusting for potential confounding by smoking attenuated the estimates for lung (SIR = 1.1, 95% CI = 1.0-1.3), laryngeal (SIR = 1.2, 95% CI = 0.8-1.6), oral (SIR = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.7-1.2), and bladder cancers (SIR = 1.0, 95% CI = 0.8-1.1). Conclusions: Taconite workers may have an increased risk for certain cancers. Lifestyle and work-related factors may play a role in elevated morbidity. The extent to which mining-related exposures contribute to disease burden is being investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-815.e1
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Volume25
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Epidemiology
  • Neoplasms
  • Occupational exposure
  • Taconite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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