Journal Article

Exposure to Different Forms of Nickel and Risk of Lung Cancer

Tom K. Grimsrud, Steinar R. Berge, Tor Haldorsen and Aage Andersen

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 156, issue 12, pages 1123-1132
Published in print December 2002 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online December 2002 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Exposure to Different Forms of Nickel and Risk of Lung Cancer

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The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified nickel compounds as carcinogenic to humans, but it is still not known with certainty which forms of nickel pose the risk. In a case-control study of Norwegian nickel-refinery workers, the authors examined dose-related associations between lung cancer and cumulative exposure to four forms of nickel: water-soluble, sulfidic, oxidic, and metallic. A job-exposure matrix was based on personal measurements of total nickel in air and quantification of the four forms of nickel in dusts and aerosols. Data on smoking habits were collected for 213 cases identified in the Cancer Registry of Norway between 1952 and 1995 and 525 age-matched controls (94% participation rate). The nickel exposures were moderately to highly correlated. A clear dose-related effect was seen for water-soluble nickel (odds ratio = 1.7 per unit in the loge-transformed exposure, ln[(cumulative exposure) + 1], originally given in (mg/m3) × years (95% confidence interval: 1.3, 2.2)). A general rise in risk from other types of nickel could not be excluded, but no further dose-dependent increase was seen. Smoking was a weak to moderate confounder. The study suggests an important role of water-soluble nickel species in nickel-related cancer.

Keywords: case-control studies; inhalation exposure; lung neoplasms; nickel; occupational exposure; smoking; Abbreviation: CI, confidence interval.

Journal Article.  6466 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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