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Cancer WOB


This online resource forms part of a Hazards ‘Zero cancer’ campaign. The initiative promotes participatory approaches to reducing occupational and environmental cancer risks. It is a project of Stirling University’s Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Research Group (OEHSRG) and is coordinated by OEHSRG’s Professor Rory O’Neill and researcher Jawad Qasrawi.

Features

 

 


CANCER COSTS  Andy Watterson warns that official inaction on work-related cancers is consigning thousands to an early grave each year and costing the economy billions. Hazards 120, October-December 2012

This man knows all about cancer Simon Pickvance knows numbers are important. Numbers – statistics, victims – establish priorities. Which is why he’s baffled by the Health and Safety Executive’s approach to occupational cancer. There’s a pervasive lack of willingness to believe things are dangerous – it’s a cultural problem about HSE,” Pickvance says. Hazards 117, January-March 2012

Death watch Two new official studies have confirmed the long-neglected workplace cancer crisis. But while the US report recommends urgent preventive action, the UK report is just another body count. Hazards 111, July-September 2010

Anatomy of a cancer cover up The UK’s official workplace health and safety watchdog is helping the microelectronics industry cover up worrying evidence of occupational cancer risks, a campaign group has charged. Phase Two, which represents workers who believe their health was damaged by exposures at National Semiconductor’s (NSUK) plant in Greenock, Scotland, was speaking out on the 24 August 2010 publication of a Health and Safety Executive-backed study into cancer rates at the factory.
Hazards Green jobs blog, 25 August 2010 • see print version Cancer collusion, Hazards 112, October-December 2010
Hazards National Semiconductor cancer cover up webpage

Samsung’s shame After the leukaemia death this year of 23-year-old Samsung worker Park Ji-yeon, the company went on Twitter to offer sympathy. But the electronics giant, which is being blamed by campaigners for a cancer cluster in its Korean factories, is insisting Samsung’s problem is not one of chemicals, but of communication. Hazards 110, April-June 2010

While you were sleeping There’s lots of advice on what we work with and where we work, from chemicals to work at heights. But when it comes to when we work, it’s an entirely different matter – and, says Andrew Watterson, for shiftworkers that could be a serious problem. Hazards 106, April-June 2009News release

Discounting cancers New reports have confirmed HSE’s estimates of occupational cancer risks fall way short. Hazards says the watchdog should get its act together before another working generation pay with their lives. Hazards 99, July - September 2007

Burying the evidence - How the UK is prolonging the occupational cancer epidemic The UK authorities are failing to acknowledge or deal effectively with an epidemic of work-related cancers. The government’s Health and Safety Executive is underestimating the exposed population, the risks faced as a result of those exposures and the potential for prevention. Hazards report, 25 June 2007Cancer Prevention Coalition news release

Global: Hidden cancer epidemic kills hundreds of thousands each year A worldwide epidemic of occupational cancer is claiming at least one life every 52 seconds, but this tragedy is being ignored by both official regulators and employers. A new cancer prevention guide, reveals that over 600,000 deaths a year – one death every 52 seconds – are caused by occupational cancer, making up almost one-third of all work-related deaths. IMF News Release, 23 March 2007BWI news release • A union guide to cancer prevention (pdf) • Hazards Cancer Prevention Kit

Scientist played down work cancer risks A world-famous British scientist failed to disclose that he held a paid consultancy with a chemical company for more than 20 years while investigating cancer risks in the industry. Sir Richard Doll, the celebrated epidemiologist, was receiving a consultancy fee of $1,500 a day in the mid-1980s from chemical multinational Monsanto. Hazards magazine, 16 December 2006

Breathtaking Asbestos diseases kill thousands in the UK every year. But these are not just statistics, they are all stories of pain, hardship and bereavement. Hazards 94, May 2006 [pdf] • asbestos webpage

Burying the evidence Britain is facing a cancer epidemic which has been almost entirely missed in official statistics. Hazards reports on an occupational cancer crisis that is killing 50 people every day and calls for an urgent and fully resourced public health response. Hazards 92, October-December 2005

Who pays when cancer strikes? In 1977 Hazards warned that a Derbyshire PVC factory could have put workers at risk of developing cancer at the end of the century. It took local trade union research this year to confirm the factory's former workforce has been decimated by disease .Hazards 64, October-December 1998



Resources

 


Cancer/Zero Cancer: A union guide to prevention [pdf]

Britain: Work cancer kills two an hour round the clock
Cancers caused by the jobs we do kill one person in the UK every 30 minutes around the clock, a TUC report has revealed. ‘Occupational cancer – a workplace guide’ says the prevention of workplace cancer has a much lower profile in the workplace than preventing injuries, “despite the fact that only 220 to 250 workers die each year as a result of an immediate injury as opposed to the 15,000 to 18,000 that die from cancer.” Occupational cancer – a workplace guide, TUC, February 2012 [pdf].
Occupational cancer – the figures: briefing for activists, February 2012 • Risks 54211 February 2012

Alliance for Cancer Prevention The Alliance is a multi-stakeholder group which includes representatives from: NGOs, trade unions, environmental and occupational health organisations, public health advocates and civil society groups, working together on cancer prevention. We aim to; challenge the existing perception of control and treatment of cancer being the best way forward; get equal recognition for primary prevention and ensure that the cancer establishment acknowledges the environmental and occupational risk factors for preventable cancers.
Subscribe to the blog

Hazards occupational cancer prevention kit

IMF occupational cancer webpages

BWI occupational cancer webpages (English)

Alliance for cancer prevention Facebook pagesBlog

Occupational cancers section added to HESA website more

Le site web HESA s'enrichit d'un dossier sur les cancers professionnels plus

US National Library of Medicine Haz-Map

IBB: cancer professionnel (français)

BWI fact sheet: Cancer in construction and timber trades [pdf]

OHS Reps @ Work cancer resources, Australia

Cancer resource on YouTube Two video clips warn that what you breathe, swallow and touch at work and where you live can seriously affect your chances of developing cancer – and this risk has increased dramatically as a consequence of industrialisation The rise in cancer - Part 1The rise in cancer - Part 2

No More Breast Cancer campaign

Labour Environmental Alliance Society (LEAS), Canada

New Jersey Department of Health carcinogens factsheet

Lowell Center for Sustainable Production

Prevent Cancer Coalition work and cancer webpages

Prevent Cancer Now A Canada- wide movement to eliminate the preventable causes of cancer

Chemicals Policy Initiative

Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control

Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI)

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment

European Environmental Agency

Women’s Environmental Network

Children’s Environmental Health Network

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

International Society of Doctors for the Environment

Cancer Prevention and Education Society

 

News

 

 

Britain: Regulating chemicals makes economic sense
Better regulation of hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to breast cancer, reproductive problems and other ill-effects could deliver massive cost savings, a new report has concluded. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) says exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may be costing up to €31 billion (£24.8bn) per year across the European Union (EU) and said the EU should set out a specific timetable by which EDCs must be identified and replaced with safer alternatives.
HEAL news releaseCIEL news releaseRisks 66028 June 2014

Global: Cancer chemicals still in hairdressing products
Chemicals in products used to colour or wave hair could be the cause of higher levels of bladder cancer observed in hairdressers, researchers have concluded. A study published online in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine on 9 June linked frequency of dye and perm use to raised levels of carcinogens found in hairdressers' blood.
Gabriella M Johansson and others. Exposure of hairdressers to ortho- and meta-toluidine in hair dyes, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published online first 9 June 2014.  doi:10.1136/oemed-2013-101960 • Medical News TodayRisks 65921 June 2014

Korea: Samsung in new cancer talks
After walking away from the table five months ago, Samsung has resumed talks with activists over compensation payouts for workers who believe their cancers were caused by their jobs for the microelectronics multinational. The move follows the company’s “deep apology” to affected workers and their families and promise of compensation last month. review our demands in good faith, and prepare comprehensive responses.”
SHARPS news releaseRisks 65814 June 2014

Europe: New union cancer prevention guide
A new guide from the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) says prevention of occupational cancers must be given a far higher priority. Using case histories, the brochure concludes the fight against work cancers can be won if trade unions and public authorities adopt coherent strategies.
ETUI publication notice and full report, Preventing work cancers: A workplace health priority, ETUI, 2014. Print version: ISBN 978-2-87452-311-3.
More: Occupational cancer - a workplace guide, TUC, February 2012. ITUC/Hazards on work and cancerRisks 6577 June 2014

Korea: Sorry Samsung agrees to cancer payouts
Korean campaigners who highlighted cancer cases in workers on Samsung’s microelectronics production lines have given a cautious welcome to a “deep apology” from the company’s chief executive. Samsung chief executive Kwon Oh-hyun said the company will now compensate chip factory workers who developed cancer while working for the firm.
SHARPS news release and statements from the campaign and SamsungKorea TimesBBC News OnlineThe GuardianPC WorldRisks 65524 May 2014

Britain: Work-related cancer can and should be prevented
Exposure to cancer causing agents at work can and should be prevented, the organisation representing occupational hygienists has said. BOHS, the Chartered Society for worker health protection, is calling on employers to comply with the legal exposure limits for known carcinogens, urging the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to be “robust” in its enforcement of the law, and says it is “critical” the government demonstrates the political will to prevent unnecessary loss of life from work-related cancers. 
BOHS news releaseRisks 6523 May 2014

France: Cancer plan includes workplace prevention push
The French government’s new national cancer prevention plan includes an explicit aim to reduce the toll of occupational cancer through regulation, enforcement and substitution. Objective 12 of the action plan for 2014-2019 is ‘Preventing cancers related to work or the environment.’
President François Hollande’s news release (in French) • Plan Cancer 2014-2019, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, February 2014 (in French) • EU-OSHA news reportRisks 64322 February 2014

Britain: ‘Almost all’ cancer from work could be prevented
Experts on workplace dust and chemical control are pressing a message to government, employers, workers and the public that ‘almost all’ occupational cancers can be prevented. Commenting on the 4 February World Cancer Day, BOHS, the Chartered Society for worker health protection, highlighting “the unacceptably high number of deaths due to occupational cancers”.
BOHS news releaseTUC occupational cancer briefingGlobal unions ‘Zero Cancer’ campaignRisks 64215 February 2014

Canada: Work-related breast cancer must be compensated
Compensation authorities in Canada should recognise cases of work-related breast cancer and approve payouts to those affected, a top cancer research has said. Michael Gilbertson, who co-authored a 2012 research paper demonstrating greatly elevated cancer risks in a range of occupations from farm work to metal and plastics manufacture (Risks 583), said: “When the precedent is set, it will be dramatic and will likely revolutionise breast cancer activism and the social movements involved in reform of environmental protection and occupational standards.”
Prevent Cancer NowRisks 6418 February 2014

Global: UN agencies call for ‘urgent’ cancer prevention
A global cancer research agency has called for “urgent” action to prevent cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organisation (WHO), made the call this week at the launch of its World Cancer Report 2014.
WHO/IARC news release Stewart BW, Wild CP, editors (2014). World Cancer Report 2014. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer [order details] • BBC News OnlineRisks 6418 February 2014

Thailand: Ministry backs immediate asbestos ban
A ban on asbestos in Thailand could be imminent after the Thai Public Health Ministry (MoPH) last week passed a resolution calling for an immediate prohibition on the use of chrysotile asbestos, the only form of asbestos still legal in the country. Welcoming the government support for an asbestos ban, Thailand Ban Asbestos Network (T-BAN) coordinator Somboon Sreekumdokkae urged politicians and officials to work alongside civil society campaigners.
IBAS news reportRisks 6418 February 2014

Britain: HSE falls 1,000 short on diesel cancer deaths
Almost 5 per cent of lung cancer deaths in the United States and the United Kingdom may be due to workplace exposure to diesel exhaust, according to a new study. The study’s findings suggest official Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates of occupational lung cancer deaths in the UK caused by diesel exhaust exposures could fall more than 1,000 short of the true toll.
Roel Vermeulen, Debra T Silverman, Eric Garshick, Jelle Vlaanderen, Lützen Portengen, and Kyle Steenland. Exposure-Response Estimates for Diesel Engine Exhaust and Lung Cancer Mortality Based on Data from Three Occupational Cohorts, Environmental Health Perspectives, published online 22 November 2013. ETUI news update. HSE occupational lung cancer estimatesRisks 63514 December 2013

Britain: Childhood asbestos exposure blamed for cancer
A 61-year-old Wigan woman diagnosed with a deadly asbestos cancer decades after being exposed to the dust has successfully recovered over £70,000 compensation from the Turner & Newall Asbestos Trust. The woman, who lived only 500 yards from the Turner Brothers asbestos factory in Hindley Green as a child in the 1950s and 60s, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable asbestos-related cancer, in the autumn of 2012.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseWigan Evening PostJune Hancock Mesothelioma Research FundRisks 63116 November 2013

Britain: Suspected benzene cancer victim seeks justice
A former fitter who has been diagnosed with cancer is appealing for former colleagues to come forward to help with an investigation into the dangerous chemicals he was exposed to at work. Michael Fernay, 65, who believes he was exposed to benzene at British Glue & Chemicals, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a cancer of the blood cells linked to the chemical, during March this year.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release. Anyone with useful information to support the compensation case should email Katrina London or call her at Irwin Mitchell on 0161 838 7262 • Risks 63116 November 2013

Korea: Samsung cancer caused by work
A former Samsung worker was a victim of occupational cancer caused by exposures at the electronics giant, a court has ruled. The Seoul administrative court ordered the official compensation agency KCOMWEL to pay industrial disease compensation to the family of Kim Kyung-mi, a former Samsung Electronics Co Ltd employee who died in 2009.
Stop Samsung campaign • Risks 62826 October 2013

USA: Firefighters face raised cancer risks
Firefighters are at increased risk of several cancers, including respiratory, digestive and urinary tumours, a US study has found. Researchers from the US government’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) looked at a combined population of nearly 30,000 firefighters employed in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco between 1950 and 2009 and found they had higher rates of several types of cancers, and of all cancers combined, than the US population as a whole.
NIOSH news release. Robert D Daniels and others. Mortality and cancer incidence in a pooled cohort of US firefighters from San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia (1950–2009), Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Published Online First 14 October 2013 [abstract] • Risks 62826 October 2013

Britain: Call for a preventive cancer action plan
A coalition of environmental and safety groups and unions says the government and the cancer establishment must introduce a new and comprehensive ‘Cancer Action Plan’ if they are to address needless deaths from occupational and environmental cancers. The Alliance for Cancer Prevention’s report says existing strategies are “grossly outdated.”
Alliance for Cancer Prevention news release and background document • Risks 627 • 19 October 2013

Britain: Watch out for blood in your pee
An NHS campaign on bladder and kidney cancers will run from 15 October to 20 November, highlighting the need for early diagnosis. In both cancers, which can have strong links to work, early diagnosis can increase considerably the chances of survival.
NHS bladder and kidney cancer campaignTUC guide to occupational cancersGlobal Unions ‘Occupational Cancer Zero Cancer’ campaign Hazards magazine on bladder cancer risks • Risks 626 12 October 2013

Britain: Prison workers welcome jail smoking ban plans
Prison officers’ union POA has welcomed plans by the Prison Service to make prisons in England and Wales smoke-free workplaces by 2015. Inmates are currently allowed to smoke in their cells but a ban would prohibit this and extend to all parts of a prison, including exercise yards.
POA news releaseThe IndependentThe GuardianBBC News OnlineRisks 62428 September 2013

USA: Shocking cancer rates among 9/11 responders
Over 1,000 emergency workers who responded to the 11 September 2001 World Trade Center (WTC) tragedy in New York have developed cancers believed to be the result of exposure to the contaminated air that enveloped them. As of August, 1,140 responders and people who worked, lived or studied in lower Manhattan have been certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to have a WTC-related cancer.
New York Daily NewsWorld Trade Center Health ProgramTUC news releaseRisks 62214 September 2013

USA: Will the US get a lifesaving silica standard at last?
Sixteen years ago, US federal workplace safety officials began developing a rule to control and limit workers’ exposure to silica dust, in a country where more than 7,000 workers develop silicosis and 200 die each year and others develop silica-related lung cancer and other conditions.
AFL-CIO Now blogUSW news release and statement from silicosis sufferer Alan WhiteOSHA statement  and information on the proposed standardAmerican Thoracic Society statementNational COSH network statementThe Pump Handle. Working in These TimesRisks 62031 August 2013

Australia: Firefighters in bid for cancer compo
Legislation to pay compensation to cancer-suffering firefighters is to be proposed in the parliament of Australia’s Northern Territories (NT). This follows a lead taken by the government of South Australia, which last year approved a firefighter cancer compensation law.
NT NewsRisks 62031 August 2013

USA: Respirators don’t protect you from fracking dust
Workers involved in ‘fracking’ are being exposed to levels of carcinogenic silica up to 10 times the US recommended limit, a study has found. Researchers from the US government occupational health research institute NIOSH looked at worker exposures during hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations and also found the most commonly used type of respirator, the half-mask air-purifying respirator, might not provide enough protection for workers.
Esswein EJ, Breitenstein M, Snawder J, Kiefer M, Sieber WK. Occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica during hydraulic fracturing, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH), volume 10, number 7, pages 347-56, 2013 [abstract]. EHS TodayRisks 61710 August 2013

Britain: Claimants lose out as insurers go missing
A voluntary system set up by insurers to assist people with work-related injuries or diseases to track down employers’ liability insurers is failing compensation claimants far too often and should be replaced with a statutory system, the TUC has said. The union body was speaking out after the publication of the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (ELTO) Annual Report and Accounts 2012.
ELTO Annual Report and Accounts 2012Risks 6163 August 2013

Britain: Hundreds of former coke oven workers seek justice
More than 300 former coke oven workers are taking legal action against British Steel and British Coal in a battle for justice for cancers and respiratory diseases they are now suffering because of exposure to harmful dust and fumes decades ago. Last week law firms Hugh James and Irwin Mitchell confirmed they had jointly issued a letter of claim against British Coal and British Steel on behalf of 300 former coke oven workers who became ill after working at coking plants and steel works across the country.
Hugh James Solicitors news releaseIrwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseRisks 6163 August 2013

Global: Dangers of toxic cocktails are under-estimated
A team from the Institute for the Environment at Brunel University has found that commonly applied “uncertainty factors” led to “ill-founded” assurances about the effects are these mixtures. The review, published in the journal Environmental Health, found no support for the “urban myth” that the default uncertainty factor is over-conservative.
OV Martin and others. Dispelling urban myths about default uncertainty factors in chemical risk assessment – sufficient protection against mixture effects?, Environmental Health, volume 12, number 53, 2013. Chemical Watch (subscription only) • Risks 61420 July 2013

USA: Chemical combinations increase cancer risk
Researchers at Texas Tech University who looked at exposures to low levels of both arsenic and oestrogen have found that low doses of both chemicals together – even at levels low enough to be considered “safe” for humans if they were on their own – can cause cancer in prostate cells.
J Treas and others. Chronic exposure to arsenic, estrogen, and their combination causes increased growth and transformation in human prostate epithelial cells potentially by hypermethylation-mediated silencing of MLH1, The Prostate, published online ahead of print, 26 June 2013. Texas Tech University news releaseRisks 61420 July 2013

Britain: Hearing test saved man from nose cancer
A Kent pensioner has been awarded £70,000 damages after wood dust exposure caused his nasal cancer. Peter Spillett, 66, worked as a timberman for 25 years, but the cancer was only spotted when he had a minor op to correct hearing loss.
Pannone Solicitors news releaseKent MessengerGlobal Unions zero cancer campaignRisks 61420 July 2013

Global: Asbestos trade up by 20 per cent
Global asbestos exports increased from 1,081,885 tons in 2011 to 1,327,592 tons in 2012, latest figures show. Canadian human rights campaigner Kathleen Ruff, writing on the Prevent Cancer Now website, puts the continuing trade in asbestos down to an industry public relations strategy that saw large sums of cash handed to researchers who were industry stooges.
Prevent Cancer Now reportHazards asbestos webpagesRisks 6126 July 2013

Canada: Night work linked to double breast cancer risk
Working night shifts for more than 30 years could dramatically increase women's risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has concluded. Nurses, cleaners, care workers, some shop workers, call centre workers and others who work night shifts for long periods can have double the risk of developing the disease than those who don't, the new study indicates.
Anne Grundy and others. Increased risk of breast cancer associated with long-term shift work in Canada, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Online first, 1 July 2013. doi:10.1136/oemed-2013-101482 [abstract] • Medical DailyHuffington PostRisks 6126 July 2013

USA: Chemical safety laws really work
A US study looking at the impact of a Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) in Massachusetts found that reported use of known or suspected carcinogens with businesses to reduce chemical risks, said: “These significant reductions show that when companies are required to examine their use of a toxic chemical, many find ways to use it more efficiently, while many others find options for replacing it with by industries in the state declined 32 per cent from 1990 to 2010 while releases to the environment declined 93 per cent from 1991 to 2010. Michael Ellenbecker, director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) created alongside the act to work a safer substitute chemical or process.”
TURI news release and executive summary and full report, Opportunities for Cancer Prevention: Trends in the Use and Release of Carcinogens in Massachusetts, TURI, June 2013 • Risks 60915 June 2013

Europe: Make prevention part of chemicals policy
A paper looking at the impact of chemical control laws in Europe, including the REACH regulations, has concluded “that the prevention of environmental exposure that is or may be related to cancer should become an integral part of cancer policies and cancer control programmes.” The paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health notes: “With the precautionary principle and that of physical–chemical hygiene in mind, the European regulations discussed in this article prove to be important steps towards a healthier living environment.”
Cathy Rigolle and others. How effective is the European legislation regarding cancer-related chemical agents? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, volume 67, number 7, pages 539-541, 2013 [abstract] • Risks 60915 June 2013 

Britain: Children face a greater risk from asbestos exposure
A heavyweight government scientific advisory committee has concluded that children are far more vulnerable to asbestos exposure than adults. The Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (CoC) was asked for advice on the relative vulnerability of children to asbestos to inform discussions of the Department for Education's Asbestos in Schools Steering Group.
Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) Statement on the relative vulnerability of children to asbestos compared to adults, June 2013 • JUAC news releaseATL news releaseNUT news releaseITV NewsRisks 60915 June 2013

Britain: Mum dies from asbestos cancer that killed her dad
A mother-of-three who contracted cancer from childhood cuddles with her father in his asbestos-covered overalls has died. A globally respected asbestos campaigner, Debbie Brewer, 53, spent seven years battling mesothelioma, an incurable asbestos-related cancer.
BBC News OnlineITV NewsThe SunThe Daily MailADAO report
Debbie’s Mesothelioma and Me blog • Risks 60915 June 2013

Britain: Stopping exposure to carcinogens
The latest of the TUC’s ‘Time to Change’ health and safety campaign bulletins deals with preventing exposure to carcinogens at work. The new bulletin provides an overview of the situation including information on what the law says about exposure to substances that can cause cancer.
TUC publication alert and Time to Change bulletin, Carcinogens – stopping exposure. International trade union workplace cancer prevention campaign •  Risks 606 • 25 May 2013

Japan: Firm raided over bile duct cancers
Labour ministry investigators searched the Osaka head office of printing firm Sanyo-CYP Co on 2 April amid long-running concerns about workplace cancers. So far, 17 employees have developed bile duct cancer, eight of whom died – with an nationwide investigation subsequently identifying 48 more cases.
Japan TimesMainichi Japan editorialRisks 60013 April 2013

Australia: Asbestos eradication bill introduced
A draft law aiming to ‘eradicate’ asbestos in Australia has been introduced to the national parliament. Employment minister Bill Shorten said the legislation would establish an Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.
News release from minister for employment Bill ShortenThe Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Bill and explanatory memorandumRisks 59823 March 2013

Britain: Night shift linked to ovarian cancer
Working night shifts may increase the risk of ovarian cancer, research suggests. A study of more than 3,000 women found that working nights increased the risk of early-stage cancer by 49 per cent compared with doing normal office hours.
Parveen Bhatti and others. Nightshift work and risk of ovarian cancer, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 50, pages 231-237, 2013 [abstract] • BBC News OnlineRisks 59823 March 2013

Britain: HSE urged to do act on women’s cancers
Campaigners waved bras outside a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conference last week, to highlight the watchdog’s “denial, delay and dithering” on occupational cancer risks, particularly those affecting women. Hilda Palmer said “this ‘three monkeys’ approach is especially deadly for work-related cancer in women which has been completely ignored, under-researched and so much less likely to be targeted for preventive action.” 
Hazards Campaign news releaseHSE news releaseMorning StarSHP OnlineRisks 59823 March 2013

Canada: Court recognises diesel cancer
A mining union has welcomed a decision by the Superior Court in Quebec, Canada, which has recognised the diesel exhaust-related lung cancer suffered by a mining worker as an occupational disease. “This is a very important decision, because it's the first time that a causal link between lung cancer and diesel smoke exposure has been recognised,” said union representative Marc Thibodeau.
USW news releaseRisks 59716 March 2013

USA: Union calls for breast cancer action
A union representing workers across the USA and Canada has issued an action call to its union reps on occupational breast cancer risk. The union USW issued the hazards alert after a paper published in November 2012 warned a ‘toxic soup’ of chemical exposures in agriculture, plastics, food packaging, metal manufacture and the bar and gambling industry was placing women at an increased risk of breast cancer.
USW Hazard AlertRisks 59423 February 2013

Global: It pays to prevent work cancers
Preventing environmental and occupational cancers is both possible and “highly cost effective”, according to a new paper by international experts. The authors, who include researchers from the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), note workplace and environmental exposures are responsible for a substantial share of the global cancer toll.
Carolina Espina, Miquel Porta, Joachim Schüz and others. Environmental and occupational interventions for primary prevention of cancer: A cross-sectorial policy framework, Environmental Health Perspectives, 5 February 2013 • Risks 59316 February 2013

USA: Officials call for breast cancer prevention
A new report from US government health agencies is calling for more resources to target prevention of breast cancer. Compiled by the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee (IBCERCC), the report notes that most cases of breast cancer “occur in people with no family history,” suggesting that “environmental factors - broadly defined - must play a major role in the aetiology of the disease.”
Breast cancer and the environment: Prioritising prevention, IBCERCC, 2013 • Breast Cancer Fund news releaseCenter for Public Integrity reportNew York Times. Forbes.comRisks 59316 February 2013

Europe: Guidance on carcinogens and work-related cancer
Papers from a ‘Carcinogens and work-related cancer’ workshop, organised last year by EU-OSHA, have been made available online. The event reached wide-ranging conclusions, including: “There is an increasing need to identify vulnerable, and ‘hidden’, groups whose occupational exposure to cancer risks and carcinogenic processes is underrepresented in exposure data and intervention strategies…”
'Carcinogens and Work-related Cancer' workshop: summary, conclusions and associated materials • Risks 5929 February 2012

Global: Cancer agency criticised over asbestos ties
Alleged links between the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the asbestos industry have been condemned on the eve of a crucial UN conference. A report  in the medical journal The Lancet examines a series of recent decisions by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that have triggered a storm of protest from governments, non-governmental organisations, and health campaigners.
IARC in the dock over ties with asbestos industry, The Lancet, volume 381, issue 9864, pages 359-361, 2 February 2013. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60152-X. International Ban Asbestos Secretariat reportRisks 5929 February 2012

USA: Government agency is dangerously close to business
A US government agency intended to assist small businesses is instead operating as an unquestioning promoter of a deadly business lobby wishlist. A report from the independent Center for Effective Government says the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy has been weighing in on issues including scientific assessments of the cancer risks of formaldehyde, styrene, and chromium, regurgitated chemical industry lobbyists talking points.
Center for Effective Government news release and report: Small businesses, public health, and scientific integrity: Whose interests does the Office of Advocacy at the Small Business Administration serve?Risks 5912 February 2013

Korea: Samsung job did cause breast cancer
A South Korean government agency has accepted that working at a Samsung Electronics factory caused the breast cancer of a worker who died in March 2012. The Korea Workers' Compensation and Welfare Service, a part of the labour ministry, ruled there was a “considerable causal relationship” between the woman's cancer and her five years of work at a semiconductor plant near Seoul.
SHARPS news release CBS NewsRisks 58722 December 2012

Global: Call for action on work-related breast cancers
A dramatic policy switch is required towards elimination of workplace exposures to a slew of chemicals now believed to cause breast cancer, a campaign group has said. The Alliance for Cancer call came after a Canadian study reported higher breast cancer rates in agriculture, plastics, food packaging, metal manufacture and the bar and gambling industries.
Alliance for Cancer Prevention news releaseHuffington PostUNISON news reportRisks 5841 December 2012

USA: New website on site work and silica
The US based Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), has launched a ‘Work safely with silica’ website. CPWR, an organisation working closely with US construction unions, says as well as giving details of US silica regulation and official research, the new resource includes other research, articles, and training materials, as well as responses to frequently asked questions.
Work safely with silicaRisks 58615 December 2012

Europe: Work cancer action edges closer
The European Commission has moved a step closer to improving Europe’s law on cancer exposures at work. The European Advisory Committee for Safety and Health at Work (ACSH), the industry-government-union body advising the Commission on workplace safety issues, adopted an opinion on 5 December 2012 backing the inclusion of new occupational exposure limit values (OELV) to a revised version of the Carcinogens Directive, which if implemented would have to be introduced European Union-wide.
ETUI news reportRisks 58615 December 2012

Britain: Judge rules building occupier is liable for cancer
A 65-year-old London man has received compensation of £205,000 after a legal judgment against the firm on whose premises he was exposed to asbestos, rather than against his employer. Frank Baker worked as a lagger’s labourer for Climax Insulation & Packing Limited in the early 1960s, working for five weeks at the Tate & Lyle sugar factory in Silvertown, London, where he was exposed to asbestos.
Leigh Day & Co news releaseRisks 58324 November 2012

Global: ‘Toxic soup’ of chemicals causes breast cancer
Working in a “toxic soup” of chemicals can double a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, new research suggests. High risk jobs include those in agriculture, plastics, food packaging, metal manufacture and the bar and gambling industry, according to the University of Stirling study.
Brophy JT, Keith MM, Watterson A and others. Breast cancer risk in relation to occupations with exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors: a Canadian case-control study, Environmental Health, 11:87, 19 November 2012. Stirling University news releaseCenter for Public Integrity articleBBC News OnlineHuffington PostFox NewsDaily MailManufacturing WeeklyRisks 58324 November 2012

Australia: Firefighters to gain cancer compensation
An Australian state is to compensate firefighters for job-related cancers. The South Australia government says it will give firefighters automatic access to WorkCover payments for cancers including primary brain, bladder and kidney cancers.
Government of South Australia news releaseABC NewsRisks 58110 November 2012

Britain: Court says smokeless fuel plant did cause cancer
Workers at a now closed smokeless fuel plant in Wales did develop potentially deadly illnesses caused by their work, the High Court has ruled. The men said making the fuel briquettes at the Phurnacite plant at Abercwmboi, Rhondda Cynon Taf, left them with cancer and respiratory diseases.
Hugh James Solicitors news release Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseWales OnlineITV NewsBBC News OnlineGlobal unions cancer prevention campaignRisks 579 • 27 October 2012

Britain: Call for action on cancer
The Hazards Campaign has criticised an HSE intervention strategy on occupational cancer saying it 'fails to acknowledge the actual scale of cancer caused by work'. The paper, which was discussed by the HSE board on 22nd August, outlined a detailed plan of activities that the HSE was undertaken to prevent further exposure to carcinogens, including asbestos, diesel fumes and silica. The Hazards campaign said 'The paper is based on a fairy tale unrealistic view of the world of work today, ignores many known carcinogens, shows little interest in finding unknown exposures, underestimates the numbers of workers exposed and shows no sense of urgency to tackle this massive but preventable workplace epidemic. Because of the lack of action now, more people will develop occupational cancers and die from them in the future.'  
Hazards Campaign news releaseHSE cancer paperTUC guideRisks 57025 August 2012

Britain: UNISON calls for action on shifts and cancer
Safety reps should demand action to protect workers from shift patterns linked to cancer and other health problems, public sector union UNISON has said. The union was speaking out after a series of reports linked shiftwork with an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and other health problems.
UNISON news release and negotiating on shift work bargaining support guide for workplaces representatives • Alliance for Cancer PreventionHazards magazineRisks 56811 August 2012

Japan: Officials probe bogus radiation readings
Subcontracted workers at Japan’s earthquake wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station may have been forced to submit bogus reports on their radiation exposures so they could remain on the job longer. An official investigation began last week after media reports of a cover-up at the plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters.
Washington PostThe GuardianRisks 56628 July 2012

Australia: Fire authority regrets inaction on cancer risk
A long-awaited report into the use of harmful chemicals at a fire training centre in Victoria, Australia has concluded fire chiefs reacted too slowly to concerns about cancer risks. Investigators had looked into the use of chemicals for live firefighting training at the Country Fire Authority's (CFA) Fiskville training facility west of Melbourne, between 1971 and 1999.
UFU news reports • Fiskville investigation – report and response, CFA Victoria webpage, Fiskville Q&A, full report [pdf] and news release •   ABC News and related story on the union responseSydney Morning HeraldRisks 56521 July 2012

Europe: Unions call for a new work safety strategy
Unions are calling for an ambitious European agenda on workplace health and safety, and are demanding EU-wide action to tackle work-related cancers and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). They warn that the economic crisis should not be used as an excuse to backtrack on safety standards.
ETUC news release and resolutions on a new occupational safety and strategy and action on musculoskeletal disordersRisks 5637 July 2012

Korea: Protesters confront Samsung on work diseases
Dozens of environmental and labour rights advocates from across the globe rallied outside the Seoul headquarters of electronic multinational Samsung on 20 June, in protest at what they describe as an “occupational disease crisis” on its production lines.
About 30 international activists joined the large demonstration by bereaved families.
Stop Samsung blogRisks 56230 June 2012

Britain: Another study links night work to breast cancer
A new study has reinforced concerns that women undertaking night work can face an increased risk of breast cancer. Reporting their findings online in the International Journal of Cancer, the French study concludes the risk of developing breast cancer was 30 per cent higher in women who had worked nights compared to women who had never worked nights.
Florence Menegaux and others.  Night work and breast cancer: a population-based case-control study in France (the CECILE study), International Journal of Cancer, published online ahead of print 26 June 2012. DOI: 10.1002/ijc.27669 [abstract]. Inserm news releaseScience DailyRisks 56230 June 2012

Britain: Government must act on work cancer findings
Urgent action from the government is required to deal with the huge death toll from work-related cancer, the TUC has said. The TUC call came as government-backed research published in the British Journal of Cancer confirmed 37 new cases of occupational cancer are diagnosed every day of the year, with a worker dying of the condition caused by their job once every hour around the clock.
TUC news releaseOccupational Cancer in Britain, British Journal of Cancer, volume 107, issue S1 (S1-S108), Guest editors Lesley Rushton and Gareth Evans, supplement published 19 June 2012 • The TelegraphRisks 56123 June 2012

USA: Officials recognise post-9/11 dust cancers
People who developed cancer after being exposed to the toxic ash that was dispersed over Manhattan when the World Trade Center (WTC) collapsed on 9 September 2001 would qualify for free treatment of the disease and potentially hefty compensation payments under a rule proposed by US federal health officials. They say 50 different types of cancer should be added to the list of sicknesses covered by a $4.3 billion fund set up to compensate and treat people exposed to the toxic smoke, dust and fumes in the months after the incident.
NIOSH statementNew York TimesRisks 56016 June 2012

Global: Unions call for action on diesel fumes cancers
Unions have called for urgent action to protect workers and the public from diesel exhaust fumes after the common workplace hazard was confirmed as a proven cause of cancer in humans. An expert panel convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a United Nations body, announced on 11 June that diesel had been reclassified as a top rated ‘Group 1’ carcinogen.
IARC news release [pdf] and interviews, video casts and report, IARC Monographs – volume 105, Diesel and gasoline engine exhausts and some nitroarenesGMB news releaseThe Pump Handle and related article on the industry’s bid to undermine the evidenceOH-world.orgThe ScotsmanBBC News OnlineRisks 56016 June 2012

Global: Preventing work cancers is possible and preferable
A dispute about priorities for cancer prevention is simmering in the medical press, with top occupational and environmental cancer experts hitting back at those who say the focus should be limited to improving ‘lifestyle’. The debate resurfaced this week in The Lancet Oncology, with US and UK academics challenging the view “that people will be diverted from addressing their risky lifestyles by too much public concern about environmental and occupational exposures,” adding: “This view implies that people cannot hold two thoughts in their heads at the same time and we cannot as a society try to prevent cancer with several causes.”
Jamie Page, Paul Whaley, Andrew Watterson and Richard Clapp. Priorities for cancer prevention, The Lancet Oncology, volume 13, issue 6, Page e230, June 2012 [preview] • Risks 5599 June 2012

Global: Night shifts linked to increase in breast cancer
Working night shifts more than twice a week is associated with a 40 per cent increased risk of breast cancer, a study has found. The long term study, published online on 28 May 2012 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found those who had worked nights at least three times a week for at least six years were more than twice as likely to have the disease as those who had not.
Johnni H and Lassen, CF. Nested case-control study of night shift work and breast cancer risk among women in the Danish military, OEM, Online First, 28 May 2012, doi 10.1136/oemed-2011-100240.
TUC news release and occupational cancer guide [pdf] • Alliance for Cancer Prevention news releaseThe GuardianDaily MailThe TelegraphRisks 5582 June 2012

USA: Groups say styrene has earned cancer tag
One of the USA’s largest unions and leading environmental advocacy groups started legal proceedings last week aimed at making sure the US government can alert the American public to the potenti l dangers of top cancer suspect styrene. The legal action by USW, the Environmental Defense Fund and Earthjustice is in support of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ listing of styrene as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” in response to a chemical industry lawsuit attempting to force the agency to withdraw the styrene warning.
Earthjustice news releaseRisks 55726 May 2012

Japan: Rare cancer deaths at printing firm
Four former employees of a printing company in western Japan died after developing bile duct cancer, raising concerns about the use of chemicals at the plant. Shinji Kumagai, an associate professor at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health who was part of the team that uncovered the deaths, said chemicals used at the factory are the probable cause of the cancers.
Mainichi JapanRisks 55726 May 2012

Britain: Death exposes wood dust cancer risk
A young carpenter and joiner from near Stamford died from a form of cancer which is thousands of times more common in people working with wood dust, an inquest has been told. John Montgomery died at the age of 37 on 4 August 2009, as a result of a sinonasal carcinoma. 
Peterborough TodayRisks 55726 May 2012

Korea: Cancer kills another young Samsung worker
A 32-year-old Korean worker has become the latest cancer casualty of Samsung’s assembly line. Safety campaigners say on 7 May, Lee Yunjeong was the 55th person to die as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals in the multinational’s Korean factories. SHARPS report on Lee Yunjeong’s deathIMF news reportRisks 55619 May 2012

Australia: Warning on blue collar cancer risks
More than 90,000 blue collar workers in Australia could be at risk of cancer owing to a lack of coordination between regulators to reduce exposure to carcinogens and the absence of any incentive for industries to act. A national cancer at work forum hosted by Cancer Council Australia (CCA) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) heard the highest numbers of at-risk workers are employed in machinery manufacture, printing and allied industries, the food industry and plastics manufacture.
CCA news releaseHerald SunTURI website4 December 2009 news release announcing the Ontario Toxics Use Reduction lawITUC/Hazards global union cancer campaignRisks 55512 May 2012

Global: Study highlights workplace lung cancer risk
A new study has confirmed the high numbers of lung cancers related to work. The research study in the Lombardy region of northern Italy showed significantly increasing risks of lung cancer for exposure to asbestos, crystalline silica and nickel-chromium exposure.
OH-world.org blog.  S de Matteis and others. Impact of occupational carcinogens on lung cancer risk in a general population. International Journal of Epidemiology, published Online First, 31 March 2012 • L Rushton and others. Occupation and cancer in Britain. British Journal of Cancer, volume 102, pages 1428–1437, 2010 • Risks 552Hazards news, 21 April 2012

USA: Diesel exhaust a serious cancer risk in miners
Miners exposed to high levels of diesel exhaust face a dramatically increased lung cancer risk, a long delayed official US study has found. “This landmark study has informed on the lung cancer risks for underground mine workers, but the findings suggest that the risks may extend to other workers exposed to diesel exhaust in the United States and abroad, and to people living in urban areas where diesel exhaust levels are elevated,” said Joseph F Fraumeni Jr, director of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.
NCI news release and Q&A on the diesel exhaust and miners studyiWatch NewsThe Pump HandleHazards magazine.
Silverman DT, Samaniac CM, Lubin JH and others. The diesel exhaust in miners study: a nested case-control study of lung cancer and diesel exhaust, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2 March 2012. doi:10.1093/jnci/djs034 [pdf].
Attfield MD, Schlieff PL, Lubin JH and others. The diesel exhaust in miners study: a cohort mortality study with emphasis on lung cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2 March 2012. doi:10.1093/jnci/djs035 [pdf].
Rushton L. The problem with diesel, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2 March 2012. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djs137 [pdf]
Risks 54610 March 2012

Britain: Why won’t HSE treat cancer seriously?
The UK is ignoring an occupational cancer epidemic and needs to put far greater efforts into preventing work-related cancer deaths, a top workplace health researcher has said. Simon Pickvance, who based at Sheffield University where he is investigating occupational bladder cancer risks, believes this cancer illustrates a flaw in HSE’s figures that systematically disappears real cancers from the statistics, by dismissing or ignoring risks by job, by industry or by substance.
This man knows all about cancer, Hazards, Number 117, 2012. Alliance for Cancer Prevention blogOccupational cancer – a workplace guide, TUC, February 2012 • Risks 54610 March 2012

USA: Industry stalls diesel fumes cancer action
Publication of a landmark US government study probing whether diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in miners — already 20 years in the making — has been delayed by industry and congressional insistence on seeing study data and documents before the public does.
Washington PostRisks 54211 February 2012

Britain: Prison workers face smoking dangers
While other workers benefit from lower cancer and heart disease risks resulting from the workplace smoking ban, workers in prisons do not, their union has said. POA has presented evidence to the Ministry of Justice showing prison staff are “exposed to considerable quantities of secondhand smoke during their work time.”
POA news releaseRisks 54211 February 2012

Britain: Work cancer kills two an hour round the clock
Cancers caused by the jobs we do kill one person in the UK every 30 minutes around the clock, a TUC report has revealed. ‘Occupational cancer – a workplace guide’ says the prevention of workplace cancer has a much lower profile in the workplace than preventing injuries, “despite the fact that only 220 to 250 workers die each year as a result of an immediate injury as opposed to the 15,000 to 18,000 that die from cancer.” Occupational cancer – a workplace guide, TUC, February 2012 [pdf].
Occupational cancer – the figures: briefing for activists, February 2012 • Risks 54211 February 2012

Britain: Radiation found on Dounreay workers' shoes
Traces of radioactive contamination have been detected on shoes worn by workers preparing to leave a condemned building at the Dounreay nuclear site. It was understood 14 workers were involved. 
DSRL news releaseBBC News OnlineScotsmanPress and JournalConstruction EnquirerRisks 541 • 4 February 2012

Britain: ‘Ticking timebomb’ of bladder cancer cases
Lawyers are warning of a ‘ticking timebomb’ as workers exposed to carcinogenic chemicals from the 1950s to the 1970s develop potentially fatal cancers. Pauline Chandler from the law firm Pannone said “my fear is that workers in a number of industries, including; the chemicals sector, paint production, rubber manufacture and pigments and dyestuffs production, will develop cancers and be unaware that they are related to their past employment.”
Pannone SolicitorsThe GuardianGlobal Unions zero cancer campaignHSE cancer statisticsRisks 53617 December 2011

Britain: Report’s focus on ‘lifestyle’ cancers criticised
A report that concluded nearly half of cancers diagnosed in the UK each year - over 130,000 in total - are caused by avoidable lifestyle ‘choices’ including smoking, drinking and eating the wrong things, has been criticised for downplaying occupational and environmental cancer risks and the social class effects that consign many workers and their families to multiple risks.
D Max Parkin and others. The fraction of cancer attributable to lifestyle and environmental factors in the UK in 2010, British Journal of Cancer, volume 105, Issue S2 (Si-S81), 6 December 2011. Alliance for Cancer Prevention news releaseBBC News OnlineThe Guardian and related lettersRisks 53617 December 2011

Britain: Former Phurnacite workers face doubled cancer risk
Conditions at the Phurnacite smokeless fuel plant in South Wales were so bad they more than doubled the risk of certain workers developing cancers, according to medical experts. The claim came at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where the High Court is hearing testimony after weeks of witness statements in a case where more than 300 ex-workers are seeking compensation for ill-health they say was caused by working at the National Smokeless Fuels plant before it closed in 1991.
Wales OnlineRisks 53326 November 2011

Britain: Bladder cancer strikes 30 years after exposure ends
A man from Yorkshire developed occupational bladder cancer three decades after being exposed to dangerous chemicals at work. The 57-year-old from Leeds, whose name has not been released, was exposed to harmful chemicals whilst working for Hickson and Welsh, a chemical manufacturer in Castleford.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseGlobal Unions zero cancer campaignHSE cancer statisticsRisks 52929 October 2011

Britain: Vital clues sought in PVC cancer death
A widow is appealing for her late husband’s former work colleagues to come forward and help with an investigation after he died of a cancer linked to exposure to chemicals used when making PVC. Geoffrey Osborne died on 1 August 2010 after a battle with angiosarcoma of the liver, aged 58.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release • Anyone who is able to help should email Denis O’Gorman (or telephone 0870 1500 300) • Risks 52929 October 2011

Europe: Draft EMF law not good enough
A draft law to protect workers from electromagnetic fields (EMF) could leave workers at deadly risk, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has warned. The European Commission’s draft directive, published in June, is “short-changing workers” ETUC has charged and only looks at short-term effects of the possibly cancer causing exposures.
ETUI news release • ETUC response to the consultation [pdf] • ETUI’s new health and safety webpagesRisks 52822 October 2011

Britain: Phurnacite workers start legal fight
Around 300 former workers at a smokeless fuel plant in south Wales have started a joint compensation claim for the ill-health they say was caused by their job. They claim making the fuel at the Phurnacite plant at Abercwmboi near Mountain Ash left them with cancer and respiratory disease.
Hugh James Solicitors news releaseBBC News OnlineWales OnlineOH-World blogRisks 52822 October 2011

USA: Higher cancer risk found in 9/11 firefighters
Firefighters who toiled in the wreckage of the World Trade Center in 2001 were 19 per cent more likely to develop cancer than those who were not there, a new study has found. The findings, published in the medical journal The Lancet, came from a study of almost 10,000 New York City firefighters, most of whom were exposed to the dust and smoke created by the fall of the twin towers.
David J Prezant and others. Early assessment of cancer outcomes in New York City firefighters after the 9/11 attacks: an observational cohort study, The Lancet, volume 378, issue 9794, pages 898-905, 3 September 2011. New York TimesRisks 52210 September 2011

Korea: Samsung is ordered to make chip plants safer
Samsung Electronics, the world’s leading maker of computer memory chips, has been ordered by the Korean government to come up with detailed plans to improve safety at its semiconductor production facilities. A report in the Korea Joongang Daily says Samsung is being required to disclose information on toxic chemicals to its employees, as well as hire doctors to deal with workers’ health issues.
Korean Joongang DailyStop Samsung campaignRisks 520 27 August 2011

Britain: Action over radon risks in Scotland
Simple measures to reduced radon exposures in workplaces could save dozens of lives every year, latest figures suggest. The Health Protection Agency says radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas released by certain rocks and which can seep into buildings, accounts for about 1,000 deaths a year in the UK – and almost one in five of these deaths is thought to be linked to exposures in the workplace. 
HPA news release and radon map • The burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain, HSE, 2010 [pdf] • UNISON radon at work guide [pdf] • Risks 520 27 August 2011

Japan: Fukushima radiation discovered at lethal levels
Pockets of lethal levels of radiation have been detected at Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in a fresh reminder of the risks faced by workers battling to contain the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
The Guardian and earlier report on heat stressRisks 5176 August 2011

Britain: Site bosses must act on skin cancer risk
The construction industry must take decisive action to ensure the risk of construction workers developing skin cancer is dramatically reduced, site union UCATT has said. The call came after a July report published by the Society of Occupational Medicine found that some construction workers were nine times more likely to develop skin cancer than other workers from similar social groups.
UCATT news releaseMorning StarRisks 5176 August 2011

Global: Farms linked to blood cancer risks
Growing up on a livestock farm seems to be linked to an increased risk of developing blood cancers as an adult, new research suggests. The risk of developing a blood cancer was three times as high for those who had grown up on a poultry farm, the study published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine shows.
Andrea ‘t Mannetje and others. Farming, growing up on a farm, and haematological cancer mortality, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Online First, 27 July 2011; doi 10.1136/oem.2011.065110 [abstract] • Risks 51630 July 2011

Britain: TUC guide to using safety statistics
The TUC has published a short union safety reps’ guide to finding and using safety statistics.  It says a safety rep’s first stop should be with the employer.
Statistics - how to find them and use them: Guidance for health and safety representativesRisks 51523 July 2011

Global: WHO backs work-related cancer action call
Urgent action is needed to tackle the occupational and environmental exposures “responsible for a substantial percentage of all cancers,” a new report says. The paper published in the online journal Environmental Health Perspectives, says “credible estimates” suggest these exposures could account for up to 1 in every 5 cancers. Landrigan PJ, Espina C, Neira M. Global prevention of environmental and occupational cancer, Environmental Health Perspectives, volume 119:a280-a281, 2011. doi:10.1289/ehp.1103871. The Asturias Declaration: A call to action [pdf] • Risks 51523 July 2011

Britain: Skin cancer warning for construction workers
Britain’s 2.4 million construction workers need protection from potentially deadly over-exposure to the sun, the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) has warned. The alert came as new research published in SOM’s journal, Occupational Medicine, suggested skin cancer in construction workers could be as common as asbestos-related disease.
SOM news releaseRisks 51523 July 2011

Australia: Move to recognise firefighters' cancers
A push to compensate Australian firefighters who develop certain types of cancer has received a significant boost, with federal backbenchers from both major parties pledging to back legislation introduced. The bill introduced by Greens MP Adam Bandt will reverse the onus of proof for certain types of cancers, and will presume them to be work-related.
The AgeRisks 5139 July 2011

Korea: Leukaemia linked to semiconductor work
Authorities in Korea have for the first time accepted cancer among workers in the semiconductor industry as an occupational disease. On 23 June, the Seoul Administrative Court ordered Samsung Electronics to compensate the families of two workers, Hwang Yumi and Lee Sookyoung, who died of acute myeloid leukaemia, a white blood cell cancer.
SHARPS news reportIMF news reportKorea HeraldKorea TimesWashington PostRisks 512 2 July 2011

Britain: Poor wood dust control caused cancer
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to investigate the occupational risks facing those in the furniture and woodworking industries, more than 10 years after the last checks found the official standard was routinely ignored. The news coincides with a £375,000 compensation payment to the widow of a cabinet maker who died of nasal cancer in 2005.
The Guardian • HSE wood dust survey 2000 [pdf] • HSE news release on the Millbrook prosecutionRisks 51018 June 2011

[cancer] Britain: Grassroots research uncovers cancer link
A new medical research project is investigating links between the region’s steelworks and bladder cancer, an association first spotted by a groundbreaking grassroots workplace health project. Simon Pickvance said: “I spoke to about 30 different people in five different practices and what transpired immediately was that some of them had worked with dyes
Yorkshire Cancer Research news releaseSheffield StarRisks 51018 June 2011

Global: Mobiles 'may cause brain cancer'
A United Nations agency has said mobile phone use is “possibly carcinogenic”. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) expert panel this week decided to classify “radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use.”
IARC news release [pdf] • BBC News OnlineWashington PostCNNRisks 5084 June 2011

Japan: Radiation limit scrapped at stricken plant
The government in Japan has decided to abolish the upper cap on radiation exposure for workers at the crippled Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant. The move, which has alarmed workplace safety experts, comes after reports two workers had already exceeded to maximum dose.
Mainichi Daily NewsThe IndependentRisks 5084 June 2011

Global: Finding expected and unexpected cancers
The trade union movement has argued consistently the number of occupational cancers has been systematically under-estimated in studies. Occasionally, though, a study is thorough and independent enough to find the usual suspects and several types of cancer not normally associated with work.
HESA news, 11 April 2011. Eero Pukkala, Jan Ivar Martinsen, Elsebeth Lynge, Holmfridur Kolbrun Gunnarsdottir, Pär Sparén, Laufey Tryggvadottir, Elisabete Weiderpass, Kristina Kjaerheim. Occupation and cancer – follow-up of 15 million people in five Nordic countries, Acta Oncologica, January 2009, vol. 48, No. 5: 646–790 • Accompanying commentary from Aaron BlairGlobal Unions occupational cancer campaignRisks 50216 April 2011

Britain: Welcome for cancer compensation precedent
Unions have welcomed a Supreme Court ruling that establishes workers may claim compensation after ‘low level’ exposures to a cancer causing substance at work. The Supreme Court this week upheld earlier rulings establishing there was no requirement for a claimant to show a doubling of risk in order to claim asbestos caused their cancer.
NUT news releaseUCATT news releaseRisks 49712 March 2011

Britain: Backing for ‘low level’ asbestos exposure payouts
Two families have won groundbreaking claims for compensation after loved ones died from cancer caused by exposure to "low level" asbestos. Seven Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled there was no requirement for a claimant to show a doubling of risk.
The Supreme Court press summary [pdf] and full judgment [pdf] • John Pickering • Solicitors news release • Asbestos Forum news release [pdf] • Asbestos in Schools news releaseBBC News OnlineLiverpool Daily NewsDaily PostSolicitors JournalThe IndependentRisks 49712 March 2011

USA: Jobs link to women’s lung cancer risk
Significantly higher rates of lung cancer deaths – sometimes double what would be expected – occurred in US women who worked in more than 40 occupations between 1984 and 1998. The large scale occupational health surveillance study published in the February edition of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine is the broadest analysis of occupation, industry and lung cancer among US women to date.
Cynthia F Robinson and others. Occupational lung cancer in US women, 1984-1998, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, volume 54, issue 2, pages 102–117, February 2011 [abstract] • Environmental Health NewsThe IndependentRisks 49312 February 2011

USA: Firefighter wins breast cancer payout
A Las Vegas firefighter has been told by the Nevada Supreme Court she is entitled to workers' compensation benefits under the presumption that she developed breast cancer through exposure to carcinogens at work.
City of Las Vegas v Robin Lawson, Nevada Supreme Court [pdf] • Courthouse News ServiceAllgov.comRisks 48915 January 2011

USA: Unhealthy absence of paid sick leave
More than 44 million private sector workers in the United States - 42 per cent of the private-sector workforce - don’t have paid sick days they can use to recover from a common illness like the flu, according to new research. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) said its analysis reinforces the connection between the failure to allow workers paid sick days and public health problems.
IWPR factsheet [pdf] • AFL-CIO Now blogRisks 48915 January 2011

Britain: Firms fail to control cancer chemicals
There has been no improvement in over a decade in the chemical industry’s control of a potent carcinogen, research for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found. The study into exposures to the cancer-causing chemical MbOCA found more than 1 in 20 measurements (6 per cent) exceeded the guidance value for MbOCA in urine, with levels in excess of this figure found at seven of the 19 sites visited in study.
Occupational exposure to MbOCA (4,4′-methylene-bis-ortho-chloroaniline) and isocyanates in polyurethane manufacture, RR828, December 2010 [pdf] • Risks 48915 January 2011

Britain: Warning on deadly wood dust cancer
A carpenter who was given a false negative cancer result at an Eastbourne hospital died of an occupational tumour, an inquest has heard. Roy Taylor died at his home on Christmas Day 2009 from cancer of the nose.
Eastbourne HeraldGlobal Unions/Hazards occupational cancer campaignRisks 485 • 4 December 2010

Global: Work chemicals linked to male breast cancer
Common workplace chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of male breast cancer. The research, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found male breast cancer incidence was particularly increased in motor vehicle mechanics, who were twice as likely to develop the disease.
Sara Villeneuve, Diane Cyr, Elsebeth Lynge and others. Occupation and occupational exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in male breast cancer: a case–control study in Europe, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 67, pages 837-844, 2010 [abstract] • Green jobs, safe jobs blogRisks 483 • 20 November 2010

USA: USW calls for lung cancer screening
The US steelworkers’ union USW wants routine occupational lung cancer screening for all workers in high risk jobs. USW international president Leo W Gerard said: “Millions of workers have been exposed to asbestos, silica, chromium, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, nickel and combustion products – and all of these exposures are firmly established as causes of human lung cancer.”
USW news releaseRisks 482 • 13 November 2010

Korea: Protesters ‘die-in’ at electronics fair
Members of the public attending a major electronics fair in Korea have found out more about the industry than they might have anticipated – as a ‘die-in’ by campaigners outside the event highlighted the occupational cancer and other risks blighting the sector.
Stop Samsung campaign news releaseGood Electronics news releaseThe HankyorehRisks 478 • 16 October 2010

USA: Chemical giant denies brain cancer link
A high profile legal case is to cast doubt on industry evidence claiming that vinyl chloride exposure is not linked to brain cancer. Aaron Freiwald, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, believes he can prove that an industry-funded study on which Rohm & Haas is expected to rely is flawed and failed to include as many as two dozen fatal cases of brain cancer.
Green jobs blogCenter for Public Integrity featureRisks 475 • 25 September 2010

USA: Chromium industry buries cancer evidence
The world’s largest producer of chromium chemicals failed to inform the US authorities after it found a “substantial” lung cancer risks to workers exposed to hexavalent chromium (CrVI, or chrome 6). A notice this month filed by the US government’s Environmental Protection Agency says Elementis Chromium failed or refused to submit to EPA a study conducted for an industry trade group that showed evidence of excess lung cancer risk among workers in chromium production facilities.
The Pump Handle blog and 2 September 2010 EPA notice, posted on the Defending Science websiteRisks 474 • 18 September 2010

Global: Deadly jeans fade out of fashion
Two major multinationals have agreed to end sandblasting denim jeans, a practice that has led to deadly lung disease in garment workers. ITGLWF, the global union federation for the sector, welcomed the announcement by Levi Strauss and H&M.
ITGLWF news releaseLevi Strauss news releaseRisks 474 • 18 September 2010

Britain: Campaign refutes HSE’s ‘bogus’ cancer line
The UK’s official workplace health and safety watchdog is helping the microelectronics industry cover up worrying evidence of occupational cancer risks, a campaign group has charged. Phase Two, which represents workers who believe their health was damaged by exposures at National Semiconductor’s (NSUK) plant in Greenock, Scotland and which has the support of STUC, was speaking out on the 24 August publication of a study into cancer rates at the factory.
Phase Two news release and campaign group webpagesNational Semiconductor website • Green jobs, safe jobs blogEvening Times Risks 471 • 28 August 2010

Britain: STUC anger at microchip cancer study
The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) is to raise formally its concerns about the Health and Safety Executive’s ‘no risk’ claim about cancer rates at a Greenock microelectronics factory. STUC said it intended to write to HSE chair Judith Hackitt “seeking an explanation how the HSE justifies issuing a press release with the heading ‘Research indicates no increased cancer risk at Greenock factory’ when the report quite clearly states that incidences for some types of cancer were higher than they had anticipated.”
Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) news report • Health and Safety Executive (HSE) study webpages, report summary and news release • A further study of cancer among the current and former employees of National Semiconductor (UK) Ltd, Greenock – 2010, HSE, August 2010 [pdf] • The HeraldBBC News Online Risks 471 • 28 August 2010

Britain: Firm must pay for hospice cancer care 
The High Court has ruled a company responsible for a man’s death from an asbestos cancer should contribute to his hospice care costs. The ‘landmark’ case involves James Willson who in 1951, aged 20, went to work erecting new boilers at Deptford Power Station and subsequently died of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseLoughborough Echo •  Risks 469 • 14 August 2010

Britain: Firms fail to control cancer risks
Workers producing rubber goods are not being provided the minimum legally-required protection from cancer risks, a survey by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found. The report adds to earlier concerns about poor control of occupational cancer risks in the chemical sector.
A small survey of exposure to rubber process dust, rubber fume and N-nitrosamines, RR819, HSE, July 2010 • Risks 468 • 7 August 2010

Korea: Investors query Samsung cancers
Institutional investors in Europe and the US have asked Samsung to explain the occupational cancer furore that has engulfed the company. The cancers have been linked to toxic chemicals used at Samsung semiconductor plants in South Korea.
Hankyoreh 21Risks 466 • 24 July 2010

Global: Bladder cancer risk to painters confirmed
Painters are at a significantly increased risk of developing bladder cancer, with the risk increasing the longer a person works in the trade, a new study has confirmed. The large scale “meta-analysis”, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found the risk arises not solely from exposure to paint but to factors that can occur in the environment in which painters work, such as the stripping of old paintwork, sanding or exposure to asbestos.
Neela Guha and others. Bladder cancer risk in painters: a meta-analysis, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 67, pages 568-673, 2010 [abstract].
Paolo Vineis. Editorial: Bladder cancer risk in painters, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 67, pages 505-506, 2010 [extract] • Risks 46624 July 2010

Britain: HSE observes hi-tech horror show
Microelectronics firms in Britain have neglected health risks to workers, tampered with crucial safety alarms and have shown no consideration of the risks faced by entire groups of workers, an official report has found. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered “weaknesses”, “misunderstandings” and poor practices in vital safety procedures across the sector.
Unite news releaseSunday HeraldRob Edwards websiteControl and management of hazardous substances in semiconductor manufacturers in Great Britain in 2009, HSE, July 2010 [pdf] • Risks 464 • 10 July 2010

Britain: Pesticides linked to cancer increases
A ‘dramatic’ increase in a range of occupational and childhood cancers has been linked to pesticide exposures. A report published last week by CHEM Trust links exposure prior to conception or during pregnancy to higher rates of childhood cancer and warns that farm workers could also be developing cancers caused by pesticide exposures at work.
Chem Trust news release [pdf] and report [pdf] • Green jobs, safe jobs blogScotsmanRisks 464 • 10 July 2010

Britain: Wood dust caused nose cancer
A widow has received compensation after her husband died of a work-related nose cancer. Barry Haw contracted the condition after being exposed to wood dust while working as a craftsman for Robert Thompsons Craftsmen Limited.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news releaseRisks 463 • 3 June 2010

Britain: Did vinyl chloride cause deadly stomach cancer
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors is seeking information to help in the case of Jonathan Cooke from Stourport on Severn, who died age 39 of stomach cancer on 4 December 2007. His work at Dura Automotive for over 20 years could have exposed him to the potent human carcinogen vinyl chloride.
Information request: Anyone who worked at Dura Automotive in Stourport is being asked to contact Satinder Bains at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors on 0870 1500 100 • Risks 463 • 3 June 2010

USA: Pratt study did show cancer rise
Pratt & Whitney Aircraft has been accused of burying evidence of higher cancer rates at a Connecticut factory. A series of headlines this month trumpeted the company line: ‘No cancer link found at P&W’; ‘Study: Pratt & Whitney Workers Got Brain Cancer At Same Rate As Overall Population,’ and ‘Study Shows No Cluster At North Haven Plant.’
New Haven IndependentRisks 462 • 26 June 2010

Britain: Wide social inequalities in work cancers
The occupational cancer burden in the UK has been consistently under-estimated and is concentrated almost entirely in certain social classes, a new study shows.
SOM meeting. Lesley Rushton and others. Occupational and cancer in Britain, British Journal of Cancer, volume 102, pages 1428–1437, 2010 [abstract]. Related HSE report: The burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain, research report 800, HSE, 2010 [pdf] • Risks 460 • 12 June 2010

France: Employer liable for bitumen cancer
French road building firm Eurovia has been found liable for the death of a worker from a bitumen-related cancer. The French research agency AFSSET is to conduct a review of the occupational risks linked to the use of bitumen at work.
HESA news reportEuropean Agency news reportRisks 457 • 22 May 2010

USA: President’s panel calls for cancer action
Policymakers in the US should abandon a reactionary approach to regulation of cancer causing chemicals and champion a precautionary approach, top advisers to Barack Obama have said. The report from the President's Cancer Panel recommends: “A precautionary, prevention-oriented approach should replace current reactionary approaches to environmental contaminants in which human harm must be proven before action is taken to reduce or eliminate exposure,” adding that this new approach “should be the cornerstone of a new national cancer prevention strategy that emphasises primary prevention.”
Reducing environmental cancer risk: What we can do now, President’s Cancer Panel, 2010 [pdf] • Huffington PostEffect measureWashington PostUSA TodayLos Angeles TimesRisks 456 • 15 May 2010

Britain: Breast cancer link to shiftwork confirmed
Nearly 2,000 women contract breast cancer every year in the UK because they work night shifts, according to a new report. The figure, published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is based on 2005 data and attributes 1,969 new cases of breast cancer and 555 deaths from the disease that year to shiftwork.
The HeraldThe burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain, research report 800, HSE, 2010 [pdf] • While you were sleeping, Hazards magazine, number 106, Summer 2000 • Risks 445 • 8 May 2010

Britain: Work cancer toll was (and is) under-estimated
Thousands of occupational cancer deaths each year have been missed in official estimates, a new study for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has shown. The report puts the number of cancer deaths in 2005 that were attributable to work at 8,023 – which compares to the 6,000 deaths a year HSE defended as a “best available estimate” until two years ago – and HSE now concedes even the new figures “are likely to be a conservative estimate of the total attributable burden.”
The burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain, research report 800, HSE, 2010 [pdf] • TUC occupational cancer guide [pdf]. Global Unions cancer campaignRisks 445 • 8 May 2010

Korea: Samsung PR push won’t cure cancer woes
Electronics giant Samsung has started a public relations charm offence in a bid to escape a cancer scandal linked to its Korean factories. On 15 April, the company invited reporters to a chip plant south of Seoul to demonstrate its manufacturing process and emphasise its commitment to safety.
Washington PostUSA TodayGlobal Unions cancer campaignRisks 453 • 24 April 2010

Korea: Samsung worker dies – activists arrested
On 2 April, following a funeral ceremony for Park Ji-yeon – a 23-year-old Samsung worker who succumbed to occupational cancer - Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry (SHARPS), a coalition of trade unions and campaign groups, organised a press conference at Samsung headquarters in Seoul, calling the company to account for semiconductor related cancer deaths; the police broke up the press conference and detained seven activists without charge until 5 April.
IMF news releaseHuffington Post. Sign the SHARPS petitionSee the SHARPS videoRisks 452 • 17 April 2010

Global: Work chemicals linked to breast cancer
Occupational exposure to certain chemicals and pollutants before a woman reaches her mid-30s could treble her risk of developing cancer after the menopause, a new study suggests. Women exposed to synthetic fibres and petroleum products during the course of their work seem to be most at risk, according to the paper, published in the 1 April issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
F Labreche and others. Postmenopausal breast cancer and occupational exposures, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 67, pages 263-269, 2010. Business WeekHESA news reportRisks 451 • 10 April 2010

Britain: Sellafield worker gets radiation flashbacks
A Unite member who was exposed to dangerous radiation while working for a nuclear power station and who had time off with related flashbacks and depression has received £4,500 in compensation. The 38-year-old from Workington, whose name has not been released, was exposed to alpha radiation in his job as a process worker for Sellafield Limited in Cumbria in January 2007.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 448 • 20 March 2010

Korea: Urgent action call on Samsung cancers
A cancer cluster is affecting young workers exposed to toxic chemicals at electronics manufacturer Samsung in Korea, union and safety campaigners have warned. A petition calling for Samsung to accept responsibility for the problem, compensate victims and remedy the health and safety problems is being circulated worldwide by Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry (SHARPs), the Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU), Asian Network for the Rights Of Occupational Accident Victims (ANROAV) and International Campaign for Responsible Technology (ICRT).
ANROAV news releaseAMRC news releaseGood Electronics news releaseSign the SHARPs petitionGlobal Unions cancer campaignRisks 446 • 6 March 2010

Australia: Payout after skin cancer death
A record six figure payout has been given to an Australian widow after her construction worker husband died at 43 from skin cancer. The family of construction worker Rohan Crotty – his 39 year-old wife Jo-Anne and four sons aged five and under – have been left in mourning after Rohan died in July last year within two years of being diagnosed with melanoma.
News.com.auRisks 445 • 27 February 2010

Britain: Former Lucas worker seeks cancer help
A Lancashire cancer survivor is urging his former work colleagues to come forward to provide information about his exposure to chemicals at work. Terry Burns, 51, who is being treated for bladder cancer, is calling for his former work mates at Lucas Aerospace to come forward to help piece together information about his working conditions.
Thompsons Solicitors news release • Anyone who worked with Mr Burns at Lucas Aerospace from 1978 to 2000 and who may have useful information should contact Marion Voss on 08000 224 224 • Risks 445 • 27 February 2010

Britain: Cancer-linked pesticides used in schools
At least four potentially cancer causing pesticides are being used in UK schools, placing staff and pupils at risk, according to a new survey. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Pesticides Action Network (PAN) snapshot of English, Welsh and Scottish school authorities also reveals that in addition to the four possible carcinogens – dichlobenil, oxadiazon, sulfosulfuron and mecoprop - seven of the pesticides used in schools may pose other serious health risks.
HEAL news release [pdf] and full survey report [pdf] • PAN UK • 23 January 2010

South Korea: Ex-Samsung workers seek cancer justice
A group of former Samsung Electronics workers and family members of deceased workers in Korea are suing a state labour welfare institute for failing to recognise cases of leukaemia they say were called by work. If their bid is successful, they would be eligible for state compensation.
Korea TimesRisks 439 • 16 January 2010

Britain: ‘Lamentable’ Shell fined after worker is paralysed
Oil giant Shell and two of its contractors have been fined after “lamentable failings” led to a “totally avoidable” refinery incident that left a worker paralysed from the waist down. Shell UK Oil Products Ltd, Dalprop Ltd and Hertel UK Ltd were fined at Warrington Crown Court on 4 January for safety offences related to the 9 February 2007 incident at Shell’s Stanlow complex near Ellesmere Port.
HSE news release and video interview with Stephen and Jayne RizzottiLiverpool Daily PostWall Street JournalThe TimesPersonnel TodayRisks 438 • 9 January 2009

Britain: Sellafield fined after radiation exposures
The company that runs the Sellafield decommissioning operation has been fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £26,100 in costs after two contract workers inhaled radioactive material. The prosecution followed an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into an incident on 11 July 2007 at the Sellafield Nuclear Licensed Site in Cumbria.
HSE news releaseConstruction NewsRisks 436 • 12 December 2009

Britain: Government lab done for cancer risks
A government-run laboratory exposed workers to chemicals known to cause cancer without using any of the accepted health and safety controls. The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Suffolk accepted a Crown Censure for health and safety breaches, the equivalent of a prosecution for a government body.
HSE news release [pdf] • Cefas news releaseLowestoft JournalBBC News OnlineRisk 435 • 5 December 2009

Global: Formaldehyde causes leukaemia too
The cancer risks posed by formaldehyde, a common workplace chemical already accepted to cause certain types of occupational cancer, are greater than previously thought. A meeting last month of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) experts determined that sufficient evidence also exists to link formaldehyde with leukaemia, a cancer of the blood or bone marrow.
IARC meeting highlights [pdf] and summary of evaluations [pdf] •  Jennifer Sass’ NRDC blog • Fatal failings on formaldehyde, Burying the evidence, Hazards magazine, number 92, 2005 •  Global Unions zero cancer campaign • BWI cancer prevention resources • Risks 432 • 14 November 2009

Britain: Asbestos death toll ‘under-estimated’
The Health and Safety Executive’s estimate of 4,000 asbestos related deaths a year falls well short of the real toll, campaigners and health experts have said. Consultant thoracic surgeon, John Edwards, commended the HSE campaign and said the safety watchdog’s figures are “an under-estimate, if anything” and Laurie Kazan-Allen, coordinator of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), said: “When mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths are added to fatalities caused by cancers of the lung, larynx, ovary and stomach – other cancers now linked to asbestos exposure – the huge price paid for the country’s failure to act on the asbestos danger becomes apparent.”
IBAS statement • The Guardian • Marketing Week • SHP Online • Risks 425 • 26 September 2009

USA: Radiation risk making granite tops
Workers who make the granite countertops popular in many household kitchens may be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, a study has found. Researchers found full-time granite workers could be exposed to radiation levels up to 3,000 times the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) radiation exposure limit for members of the general public.
The Cold Truth blogRisks 424 • 19 September 2009

Britain: Hunt for cause of worker’s cancer
The solicitor acting for a cancer survivor from Bradford is looking for information about his working conditions. The man, who developed bladder cancer in 2007 and who had worked at a firm producing pesticides, has undergone surgery to remove the tumour, but his condition is still under careful review.
Thompsons SolicitorsTelegraph and ArgusRisks 420 • 22 August 2009

Europe: Furniture trade wants formaldehyde rules
Unions and employers in Europe’s furniture trade want strict limits on formaldehyde in furniture production. A joint declaration from the European Federation of Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW) and the European Furniture Manufacturers Federation (EFMF) calls for “legislation requiring that all materials used in furniture put on the market in the European Union (EU) have the lowest possible emission level based on the best available technology”.
REHS news report • EFBWW/EFMF joint declaration on formaldehyde [pdf] • Risks 416 • 25 July 2009

France: Environment a “huge” cancer factor
Workplace and environmental exposures are a “huge” factor in the risks of developing cancer, an official French agency has said. Substances including tobacco, chemicals, asbestos and benzene in fuels are behind much of the rise in the incidence of cancers, according to the environmental and occupational health and safety agency Afsset.
ETUI-HESA news report and Afsset formaldehyde statement Risks 414 • 11 July 2009

Britain: Payouts for asbestos related lung cancers
The most common work-related cancer is lung cancer – but cases are rarely compensated because doctors miss the work link or blame other possible causes like lung cancer. In fact, thousands – and possibly tens of thousands – of cases of lung cancer each year are part or entirely due to workplace exposures.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseField Fisher Waterhouse news releaseRisks 412 • 27 June 2009

Britain: Cricketers get skin cancer tests
Members of the Professional Cricketers’ Association are to receive regular screening for skin cancer. PCA, which represents the interests of players, organised the programme after one in seven county players were referred to specialists when potential melanomas were found during check-ups.
BBC News OnlineRisks 407 • 23 May 2009

Australia: Night nurses warn of health fears
For the first time, the life-threatening physical and psychological effects of shift work are being used to push for bigger pay packets for nurses and midwives in New South Wales, Australia. The NSW Nurses Association launched its claim in the Industrial Relations Commission this week, calling in experts to cite studies linking shift work with higher rates of breast cancer, heart disease, miscarriage, clinical depression and divorce.
NSWNA news releaseSydney Morning HeraldRisks 405 • 9 May 2009

Britain: Sixth cancer death linked to university
A sixth person who worked in a Manchester University building used by Lord Rutherford, and contaminated by radiation and mercury, has died. Professor Tom Whiston, 70, a psychology lecturer, is the third to die from pancreatic cancer.
Manchester Evening NewsBBC News OnlineGlobal Unions cancer prevention campaignRisks 405 • 9 May 2009

Europe: Cancer warning on night work
A top UK occupational health researcher has warned that the UK authorities are lagging behind their Scandinavian counterparts when it comes to action on night work hazards, linked to cancer and other chronic health problems. Stirling University’s Professor Andrew Watterson said the problem was being neither properly recognised nor addressed in the UK.
BBC News Online and The Investigation radio showThe ScotsmanTelegraphDaily MailThe GuardianRisks 398 • 21 March 2009

Canada: Centre targets cancer prevention
A new research centre dedicated to identifying and eliminating exposure to cancer-causing substances in the workplace has opened in Toronto, Canada. Dr Aaron Blair, interim director of the new Occupational Cancer Research Centre said the new unit “is a major step in identifying carcinogens at workplaces and initiating preventive actions.”
Canadian Cancer Society news releaseToronto StarRisks 397 • 14 March 2009

Britain: Employers ‘ignoring’ cancer risks
A manufacturing body has urged employers to better assess health risks in the workplace and has conceded firms are ignoring occupational cancer risks. Steve Pointer, head of health and safety policy at manufacturers' body the EEF, admitted some firms were too complacent and failed to protect their employees.
Personnel Today • TUC occupational cancer guide [pdf] •Global Unions cancer prevention campaign and prevention kitRisks 397 • 14 March 2009

Britain: Official warning on nanotubes
The UK government’s workplace health and safety watchdog has called for “a precautionary approach” to the use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) information sheet says: “If their use cannot be avoided, HSE expects a high-level of control to be used,” adding: “It is good practice to label the material ‘Caution: substance not yet fully tested.”
Risk management of carbon nanotubes, HSE information sheet, March 2009 [pdf] • Risks 397 • 14 March 2009

Global: Warning on chemical cancers risk
A major report has warned that the global cancer burden has doubled in a generation and that too little attention is paid to potential occupational and environmental risks. The International Agency for Research on Cancer published its World Cancer Report 2008 last month.
World Cancer Report 2008, WHO/IARC [pdf] • IARC news releaseRisks 396 • 7 March 2009

Global: Warning on chemical cancers risk
A major report has warned that the global cancer burden has doubled in a generation and that too little attention is paid to potential occupational and environmental risks. The International Agency for Research on Cancer published its World Cancer Report 2008 last month.
World Cancer Report 2008, WHO/IARC [pdf] • IARC news releaseRisks 396 • 7 March 2009

Global: ConocoPhillips sued by cancer victims
Dozens of Norwegians, whose health was ruined working on the North Sea’s Ekofisk oilfield, are to take the giant oil company ConocoPhillips to court in the US. They believe the US multinational acted irresponsibly by not ensuring necessary maintenance and protection against chemicals which have resulted in cancer and other serious health problems.
Dagbladet.noRisks 396 • 7 March 2009

Canada: Alberta probes work cancer link
The Alberta Cancer Board is teaming up with the Canadian province’s government to develop a new long-term strategy to track and prevent deadly occupational diseases. Dr Fred Ashbury, the province’s vice-president responsible for population health, said international research suggests up to 20 per cent of cancer deaths are associated with exposures to harmful chemicals at work, adding: “Because we can actually prevent these cancers from occurring - if we know exactly where they are and what exposures people are facing, we have an obligation to do something.”
Calgary HeraldRisks 396 • 7 March 2009

Global: Work cancers are misattributed to smoking
A new study suggests many lung cancers are routinely misattributed to smoking, when workplace and other exposures are to blame. Scientists have concluded much of the known much higher lung cancer rates in workers with less education cannot be explained by smoking.
JNCI media briefing • Gwenn Menvielle  and others. The role of smoking and diet in explaining educational inequalities in lung cancer incidence, JNCI, volume 101, pages 321-330, 2009 • HESA news reportHazards work cancer prevention kit and cancer webpagesRisks 396 • 7 March 2009

Britain: Computer firms won’t chip in for cancer study
Britain’s top computer chip companies are refusing to spend less than the price of a couple of pints per employee to research the cancer risks in their industry. The UK’s multi-billion pound electronics industry, the world’s fifth largest with 25,000 employees, is defying the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and government who have asked the industry to contribute to the £600,000 report over four years.
UNITE news releaseRisks 396 • 7 March 2009

Britain: One in 10 carpenters 'face asbestos death'
One in 10 UK carpenters born in the 1940s will die of asbestos-related lung cancer or mesothelioma, researchers have predicted. The researchers calculated that men born in the 1940s who worked as carpenters for more than 10 years before they reached 30 have a lifetime risk for mesothelioma alone of about one in 17.
HSE news releaseOccupational, domestic and environmental mesothelioma risk in the British population: a case-control study, British Journal of Cancer • UCATT news releaseHSE hidden killer campaignDaily Mirror news item and Asbestos Timebomb campaign webpage • BBC News OnlineRisks 396 • 7 March 2009

Britain: Factory staff at 'higher risk' of cancer
Scientists have uncovered higher rates of cancer at a rubber chemical plant in North Wales. Birmingham University researchers found that at least 10 people at Wrexham’s Flexsys factory in Cefn Mawr may have already suffered premature deaths as a result.
Daily PostEvening LeaderBBC News Online •     
Tom Sorahan and others. Cancer risks in chemical production workers exposed to 2-mercaptobenzothiazole, Online First Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2009. doi: 10.1136/oem.2008.041400 • Risks 390 • 24 January 2009

Britain: Lafarge recalls cancer risk cement
Construction materials multinational Lafarge has recalled 280,000 bags of cement after discovering a batch contained high levels of cancer-causing chromium VI. In total, about 2,500 tonnes of the Blue Circle cement have been recalled.
Wiltshire TimesContract JournalRisks 388 • 10 January 2009

Britain: Browned off at cancer rebuff
Campaigners who petitioned 10 Downing Street urging the prime minister to take action to prevent breast cancer have said they are “sorely disappointed with the response.” The petition raised concerns about the failure of leading cancer charities to recognise the environmental and occupational causes of breast cancer.
Cancer campaign news releasePetition and responseRisks 386 • 13 December 2008

Italy: Study finds solvent cancer link
Exposure to the industrial solvent benzene increases a person's risk of developing multiple myeloma, according to new research. Adele Seniori Constantini of Italy’s Center for Study and Prevention of Cancer and her colleagues also found two other common workplace solvents in the same aromatic hydrocarbon group and often used as substitutes for benzene, xylene and toluene, were also tied to greater chronic lymphoid leukaemia risk.
ReutersRisks 384 • 29 December 2008

Britain: Call for action on occupational cancers
Urgent government action is needed to avert the “major public health disaster” caused by occupational cancers, Stirling University researchers have warned. Writing in the European Journal of Oncology, Professor Andrew Watterson reports that more people die in Scotland from occupational cancers than from road accidents, murders and suicides combined.
University of Stirling news release • Andrew Watterson and others. Occupational cancer prevention in Scotland: a missing public health priority. European Journal of Oncology, volume 13, number 3, pages 161-170, 2008 • Hazards cancer resourcesSunday TimesRisks 382 • 15 November 2008

Britain: TUC calls for work cancer action
Employers who risk the future health of their employees by exposing them to cancer-causing chemicals at work should be prosecuted under UK safety laws, the TUC has said. The call came as the union body launched a campaign to raise awareness of the toxic chemicals and substances that can make workers ill sometimes years after leaving their jobs.
TUC news release • TUC occupational cancer guide [pdf] •Global Unions cancer prevention campaign and prevention kitRisks 383 • 22 November 2008

Europe: Special report on occupational cancer
The latest newsletter of the European trade union health and safety think tank, HESA, includes a ‘Special report: Work-related cancers - Seeing through the smokescreen.’ The report includes details of French grassroots action against occupational cancers, asbestos litigation, using Google Earth to improve workplace conditions, cancers in Scotland’s Silicon Glen and an innovative Italian approach to addressing cancer risks.
HESA newsletter, No.34Global unions occupational cancer prevention campaignRisks 380 • 1 November 2008

Britain: Work cancer victim’s call for witnesses
A West Yorkshire cancer survivor is urging his former work colleagues to come forward to provide information about his exposure to chemicals at work. Michael Savage, 65, from Halifax was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2005 after working as as a maintenance fitter by ICI, at the Leeds Road, Huddersfield site from 1972 to 1977.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 378 • 18 October 2009
Anyone who worked with Mr Savage at ICI Huddersfield during the 1970s or who was employed in the 824 Beta Nap building should contact Marion Voss on 08000 224 224.

Britain: University radiation cancer probe begins
An occupational health specialist is to investigate a possible cancer cluster in a Manchester University building. Professor David Coggon from the Medical Research Council will carry out an independent review of health risks at the university's Rutherford Building; the deaths from cancer of five people have been linked with the building, which is where Nobel prize-winning nuclear physicist Ernest Rutherford experimented with radon and polonium in 1908.
Risks 376 • 4 October 2008

Europe: Campaigners target worst chemicals
A coalition of environmental, consumer and union safety organisations has published a ‘Substitute It Now!’ list of ‘high concern’ chemicals. The aim of the ‘SIN List’ is to speed up implementation of REACH, the new EU chemicals law, by encouraging companies to make sound substitution decisions.
ETUI-REHS news itemSIN List 1.0ChemSec • Substitution 1.0 – the art of delivering toxic-free products [pdf] • Risks 375 • 27 September 2008

USA: Experts slam work cancer ‘manslaughter’
The US authorities are doing little to protect workers from occupational cancer and as a result are “bystanders to industrial manslaughter”, top experts have warned.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center news releaseThe Record • Industrial carcinogens: A need for action [pdf] • Contributions to the President’s Cancer Panel are available on the CHE websiteGlobal Unions zero cancer campaignRisks 374 • 20 September 2008

Britain: Leigh, 28, succumbs to asbestos cancer
The asbestos cancer mesothelioma has claimed the life of Leigh Carlisle, 28. Leigh, who was featured in a global Zero Occupational Cancer Campaign poster, died in hospital on 27 August, two years after being diagnosed with the incurable condition.
Zero Occupational Cancer Campaign website and posterRisks 372 • 6 September 2008

New Zealand: Employers can help prevent skin cancer
New Zealand researchers have shown that outdoor workers are more likely to use sun protection measures if their workplace has a supportive approach to the issue. A study by the University of Otago found that outdoor workers who felt that their workplaces supported healthy behaviour were more likely to protect themselves from excessive sun exposure.
Health Promotion Journal of AustraliaRisks 369 • 16 August 2008

Britain: PM urged to act on breast cancers
The prime minister is being asked to take action to prevent breast cancers caused by occupational and environmental exposures. Breast cancer campaigner Helen Lynn has launched an e-petition on the 10 Downing Street website.
Sign the prevent breast cancer petition – it takes less than a minute (UK residents only) • No more breast cancer campaign and the Hazards websitesRisks 362 • 28 June 2008

Australia: Board sick thanks to formaldehyde
Tom Connelly knows all about the symptoms of sick house syndrome. As a carpenter he comes into regular contact with the formaldehyde-rich building materials that create health problems for residents. Construction union CFMEU is campaigning for low formaldehyde building boards, to protect workers from allergies, irritation and cancer risks.
Sydney Morning HeraldRisks 359 • 7 June 2008

Britain: Court challenge to cancer payouts
A nine-week battle started this week in the High Court and will see insurance companies seek to evade liability for a large number of asbestos compensation payouts. The court will decide whether insurers are liable for damages from sufferers’ first exposure to asbestos, or from when they become ill.
Unite news releaseThe GuardianBBC News OnlineThe TimesRisks 359 • 7 June 2008

Britain: UK bids to weaken formaldehyde standard
The UK government has attempted to undermine a proposed new European exposure limit to protect workers from a chemical linked to allergies and cancer. Commenting on new standards agreed by the European Commission’s Advisory Committee for Safety and Health at Work, the European Trade Union Confederation’s (ETUC) research arm, ETUI-REHS, reported: “The German and British governments actively supported the formaldehyde industry’s campaign, while the other governments were divided.”
ETUI-REHS news reportFatal failings on formaldehyde, Burying the evidence, Hazards magazine, number 92, 2005 • Global Unions zero cancer campaignRisks 359 • 7 June 2008

Britain: New occupational cancer resources
New resources on occupational cancer prevention have been made available online.
Stirling work cancer conference papers and CCOHS work cancer recognition and prevention courseGlobal Unions zero occupational cancers campaignRisks 358 • 31 May 2008

Britain: Court rules asbestos causes lung cancer
A High Court ruling has confirmed the lung cancer and asbestos link. Although it has long been accepted asbestos causes lung cancer, proving the link in court has been difficult because, unlike mesothelioma, the condition can be caused by a wide range of other factors, including smoking.
Irwin Mitchell news release • John Shortell (executor of the estate of John Joseph Shortell deceased and litigation friend of Eileen Shortell) v BICAL construction Ltd (sued as successor to BIC Construction Ltd), in the High Court of Justice (Queen’s Bench Division), Liverpool District Registry, Case No: 7LV30059, 28 April – 1 May 2008 • Risks 357 • 24 May 2008

Global: ‘Asbestos warning’ on nanotubes
Carbon nanotubes might be as harmful as asbestos if inhaled, according to a study. A paper in the scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology reports that animal studies indicate that these long and very thin carbon molecules could cause mesothelioma, a cancer previously associated almost exclusively with asbestos exposure.
Craig A Poland and others. Carbon nanotubes introduced into the abdominal cavity of mice show asbestos-like pathogenicity in a pilot study. Nature Nanotechnology Online 20 May 2008. doi:10.1038/nnano.2008.111 [abstract] • The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies news releaseRisks 357 • 24 May 2008

Global: Solutions to the cancer epidemic
A new book, ‘Cancer: 101 solutions to a preventable epidemic,’ lays out a preventive response to cancer risks in a clear and accessible manner. The Canadian publication shows how you can stop cancer by eliminating the carcinogens in your home, your school, your community, and your workplace and how you can work with others to make the world safe for yourself and your children.
Cancer: 101 solutions to a preventable epidemic, Liz Armstrong, Guy Dauncey, and Anne Wordsworth. ISBN 978 0 86571 542 4. £12. New Society Publishers, Canada • Risks 356 • 17 May 2008

Britain: Weed killers cause work cancers
Common weed killers have been linked to cancers in exposed workers.
Claudine M Samanic and others. Occupational exposure to pesticides and risk of adult brain tumors, American Journal of Epidemiology, volume 167, pages 976-985, 2008 [abstract] • Reuters on the brain cancer risk • Katherine A McGlynn and others. Persistent organochlorine pesticides and risk of testicular germ cell tumors, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, volume 100, pages 663-671, 2008 [abstract] • Reuters on the testicular cancer riskGlobal Unions zero cancer campaignRisks 355 • 10 May 2008

Global: New union push on work cancers
Union bodies worldwide are increasing the pressure for an end to workplace cancer risks. Australian national union federation ACTU has launched a zero cancer campaign and says more than 1.5 million workers may be exposed to cancer-causing substances on the job without even knowing it.
BWI news releaseGlobal Unions occupational cancer prevention campaignRisks 354 • 3 May 2008

Australia: Union alert on formaldehyde cancers
Australia's biggest building union is calling on the federal government to start an urgent investigation into the use of formaldehyde in household products. CFMEU said formaldehyde poses a real cancer risk to workers and must be subject to stringent laws.
CFMEU news release • Atsuya Takagi and others. Induction of mesothelioma in p53+/- mouse by intraperitoneal application of multi-wall carbon nanotube, Journal of Toxicological Sciences, volume 33, number 1, pages 105-116, 2008 [pdf] • Risks 354 • 3 May 2008

Britain: Computer chip firms in cancer ‘fantasy’
The microelectronics industry is inhabiting an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ fantasy world when it comes to facing up to possible cancer risks to its staff, the union Unite has warned. It is pressing for the UK computer components and semiconductor industry to initiate industry-wide research into the risks.
Unite news releaseGlobal Unions zero cancer campaignRisks 354 • 3 May 2008

Britain: Study highlights cancer in hairdressers
Hairdressers probably face an increased risk of cancer because of the dyes and other chemicals they work with, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). A Lancet Oncology report of a IARC working group’s findings concludes. “Because of the few supporting findings by duration or period of exposure, the working group considered these data as limited evidence of carcinogenicity and re-affirmed occupational exposures of hairdressers and barbers as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans.’”
ETUI REHS news report • Robert Baan, Kurt Straif, Yann Grosse, Béatrice Secretan, Fatiha El Ghissassi, Véronique Bouvard, Lamia Benbrahim-Tallaa, Vincent Cogliano, on behalf of the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group. Carcinogenicity of some aromatic amines, organic dyes, and related exposures, The Lancet Oncology, volume 9, number 4, pages 322-323, April 2008 • Risks 352 • 19 April 2008

Britain: Lung cancer survivor gets payout
A man who developed lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace has been compensated by his former employers. Widower, Joseph Douglas, 66, from Ellesmere Port has received £65,000 in damages after he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2004.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 351 • 12 April 2008

Britain: Experts highlight spreading cancer risks
A global epidemic of preventable industrial cancers is killing hundreds of thousands each year because governments and employers are failing to take simple and effective preventive action. Top cancer prevention experts and trade union officers and workplace reps from around the world, meeting in Scotland later this month will reveal the full extent of the problem and will call for the use of safer substances and processes and a phase out of the worst cancer-causing culprits.
Stirling University news releaseGlobal union zero cancer campaignRisks 351 • 12 April 2008

Global: Studies reveal neglected toll of work cancers
New studies have confirmed the numbers of workplace cancers has been massively under-estimated. Investigators from Massey University's Centre for Public Health Research in New Zealand say work-related cancers affect between 700 and 1,000 people a year in the country and kill 400 yet fewer than 40 cases a year are notified to the Labour Department.
Sunday Star Times Massey University research outlineGlobal union zero cancer campaignRisks 350 • 5 April 2008

USA: Pesticide exposure ups Parkinson’s risk
There is strong evidence that exposure to pesticides significantly increases the risk of Parkinson's disease, experts have concluded. A study of people with the neurological disease found that sufferers were more than twice as likely to report heavy exposure to pesticides over their lifetime as family members without the disease.
Dana B Hancock and others. Pesticide exposure and risk of Parkinson's disease: a family-based case-control study, BMC Neurology, volume 8:6, 2008, doi:10.1186/1471-2377-8-6, abstract and full paper [pdf] • Risks 350 • 5 April 2008

Australia: Brain cancer linked to mobile phone use
A top Australian neurosurgeon has warned the world's heavy reliance on mobile phones could be a major threat to human health. Vini Khurana, who conducted a 15-month “critical review” of the link between mobile phones and malignant brain tumours, said using mobiles for more than 10 years could more than double the risk of brain cancer.
Mobile phone-brain tumour, Public Health Advisory, www.brain-surgery.us
Sydney Morning HeraldRisks 350 • 5 April 2008

Global: Conference to work out work cancer solution
Occupational and Environmental Cancer Prevention - from research to policy to action at international, national and workplace levels, Friday, 25 April 2008, University of Stirling, Scotland.
Further information
, including conference programme, contact details and fees (including union reductions) • Risks 350 • 5 April 2008

USA: Work cancer’s deadly history
A new book says for much of its history, the USA’s cancer war has been fighting the wrong battles, with the wrong weapons, against the wrong enemies. ‘The secret history of the war on cancer’, a heavyweight publication by US academic Devra Davis and described in a Lancet review as “a rattling good read”, says while campaigns have targeted the disease, they’ve singularly failed to address the causes.
The secret history of the war on cancer. Devra Davis. ISBN 978 0 465 01566 5 2. £16.99. Basic BooksRisks 345 • 1 March 2008

Britain: More evidence on wood dust cancers
Wood dust exposure at work greatly increases the risk of a range of cancers, a study has found. A study has linked occupational exposure to wood dust to “other upper aero digestive tract and respiratory (UADR) cancers”, with the researchers finding “regular wood dust exposure was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of 32 per cent for all UADR cancers”.
Vijay Jayaprakash and others. Wood dust exposure and the risk of Upper Aero-Digestive and Respiratory Cancers in males, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Published Online First: 8 January 2008. doi:10.1136/oem.2007.036210 [abstract] • Global union zero cancer campaignOccupational and Environmental Cancer Prevention - from research to policy to action at international, national and workplace levels, Friday, 25 April 2008, University of Stirling, Scotland. Further information, including conference programme, contact details and fees (including union reductions) • Risks 345 • 1 March 2008

Global: Zero occupational cancer conference, 25 April, Scotland
As a contribution to the global trade union zero occupational cancer campaign, an international conference will address a major threat to public health: the toll taken by occupational and environmental cancers. The 25 April event to be hosted by Stirling University, Scotland and supported by unions in the UK and across the world, will feature top union, campaign and academic experts from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Finland, the UK and USA.
Occupational and Environmental Cancer Prevention - from research to policy to action at international, national and workplace levels, Friday, 25 April 2008, University of Stirling, Scotland
Further information, including conference programme, contact details and fees (including union reductions) • Risks 342 • 9 February 2008

Britain: Welder gets lung cancer payout
A former welder diagnosed with lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos has been paid provisional compensation. The unnamed former welder, 73, received the £20,000 payout after being diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2006.
Global unions zero work cancer campaignRisks 340 • 26 January 2008

USA: Work cancer protection inadequate
A report produced by the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), calls for tighter controls on chemicals including workplace carcinogens. The report found 109 chemicals recognised in California as cancer-causing are not regulated as occupational carcinogens, with 44 of these not even having a permissible exposure limit for the workplace.
Occupational Health Hazard Risk Assessment Project for California. Complete OEHHA technical report [pdf] • Executive summary [pdf] • Risks 339 • 19 January 2008

Europe: Patchy progress on better Euro laws
Leading Socialist Euro MPs have celebrated European Parliament approval this week of a report calling for new measures to protect the health and safety of Europe's workers. They expressed shock, however, after Conservatives and Liberals blocked inclusion of clauses calling for action on crystalline silica, a cancer-causing substance to which over 3 million workers in the European Union (EU) are routinely exposed, and on nanotechnology risks.
European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2008 on the Community strategy 2007–2012 on health and safety at work (2007/2146(INI))Risks 339 • 19 January 2008

Europe: Euro MPs call for work disease action
Euro MPs have called for measures to protect workers from a new generation of health threats at work. The all-party European Parliament employment committee wants a Europe-wide drive against cancer-causing exposures in the workplace as well as measures to combat musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain and repetitive strain injuries.
Socialist Group of MEPs (PES) news releaseHESA news report • European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs report [pdf] • Risks 338 • 12 January 2008

Australia: Action call on shiftwork cancer risk
One of Australia's biggest unions has called for a review of working hours after an International Agency for Research on Cancer study found people who work night shifts have a higher risk of contracting cancer. AWU national health and safety officer, Yossi Berger, said the “frightening report” had confirmed the union's worst fears, and added: “You can earn a lot more money working these shifts but you may find yourself using the money on a designer oxygen tent.”
AWU news release • IARC news release [pdf] • Global union zero cancer campaignRisks 338 • 12 January 2008

Australia: Firefighters welcome cancer action
A firefighters’ union in Australia has welcomed an official investigation of the cancer risks linked to the job. The government in Australia Capital Territory (ACT) – Australia has a state as well as federal government system - is to set up a working group to investigate possible links between escalating cancer rates among firefighters and their workplace.
Canberra TimesUS firefighters' union IAFF webpages on presumption laws in the US and Canada • Global union zero occupational cancer campaign • 22 December 2007

Britain: Work lung cancer risks are not declining
If you thought workplace exposure to the dust, fumes and chemicals that cause lung cancer was a think of the past you’d be wrong. An international study “suggests that exposure to occupational lung carcinogens is still a problem, with such exposures producing moderate to large increases in risk.”
F Veglia, P Vineis, K Overvad and others. Occupational exposures, environmental tobacco smoke, and lung cancer, Epidemiology, volume 18, number 6, pages 769-775, 2007 [abstract] • Global trade union occupational cancer/zero cancer campaign • 15 December 2007

Global: Shiftwork linked to cancer
Shiftwork has been recognised officially as a “probable” cause of cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer arm of the World Health Organisation, has said it will classify overnight shift work as a probable carcinogen after evidence was considered by a meeting of experts; IARC experts also ranked occupational exposure as a painter as carcinogenic to humans and as a firefighter as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
IARC news release [pdf] • Kurt Staif and others. Carcinogenicity of shift-work, painting, and fire-fighting The Lancet Oncology, volume 8, number 12, pages 1065-1066, December 2007 • Findings to be published by IARC next year, Shift-work, painting and fire-fighting, IARC monograph, volume 98 • Global union zero cancer campaign • 8 December 2007

Britain: Study exposes cancer control complacency
A disastrous failure by chemical firms and the Health and Safety Executive to control one of the best known workplace carcinogens has been revealed by an HSE survey. HSE assessed occupational exposures to the industrial chemical MbOCA, which can cause bladder cancer and which has been linked to other cancers, and found controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) were inadequate, training was poor and exposure levels were unacceptable.
HSE publication alert • A survey of occupational exposure to MbOCA in the polyurethane elastomer industry in Great Britain 2005-2006, HSE [pdf] • Global union occupational cancer/zero cancer campaign • 1 December 2007

Global: ‘Obligation to act’ on work cancers
Urgent action must be taken to address the toll of workplace and environmental cancers, a new report has concluded. Researchers from the Lowell Center for Sustainable Development in the USA who reviewed new evidence on cancer risks, said their findings “demonstrate why environmental and occupational cancers should be given serious consideration by policymakers, individuals, and institutions concerned with cancer prevention.”
Environmental and occupational causes of cancer: New Evidence, 2005-2007, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, 2007, executive summary and full report [pdf] • Toxic Burdens Blog • 17 November 2007

Britain: Cancer payout for asbestos hug woman
A Devon woman who developed an incurable asbestos-related cancer from hugging her father as a child has settled a damages claim. The Ministry of Defence (MoD), which owned Devonport Dockyard when Debbie Brewer's father worked there in the 1960s, settled with a six-figure sum.
BBC News OnlineDaily Mail • 17 November 2007

France: Action call on work-related cancers
The authorities in the French district of Seine-Saint-Denis, north-east of Paris, have issued a call for national action on work-related cancers. The petition’s sponsors, which includes unions and high profile officials of public, health, research and safety bodies, claim that a manual worker between the ages of 45 and 54 is at four times greater risk of dying from cancer than a same-age top manager.
ETUI-REHS summaryFull background and petition document (in French) • Global union zero cancer campaign • 3 November 2007

Australia: Neglected toll of workplace cancers
There is no mention of cancer caused by occupational exposure in Australia’s national cancer prevention plan - it is instead focused on smoking, obesity and melanoma. Labouring under the misapprehension that occupational cancer in a modern economy is rare, or that occupational health and safety regulations protect those exposed, governments have taken a hands-off approach as 1.5 million Australian workers are exposed to cancer-causing agents every year.
Sydney Morning Herald ACTU zero cancer campaignGlobal trade union occupational cancer/zero cancer campaignHazards work cancer prevention kit • 27 October 2007

Europe: Union dismay at EMF law delay
A European law intended to protect workers from possible health risks caused by electromagnetic fields, is to be delayed for four years. The TUC believes the MRI issue could have been dealt with without shelving what was intended solely as a workplace health and safety measure - electromagnetic radiation has been linked to high rates of breast cancer in flight attendants and to cancers and other health effects in other groups of workers, including railway staff and microchip workers.
The GuardianBBC News OnlineTrade union cancer campaign • 27 October 2007

Global: Mobile phones linked to brain cancer
New research suggests mobile phone usage for more than a decade greatly increases the risk of cancer. The study found that long-term users – and the phones have become a required tool for many workers - had double the chance of getting a malignant tumour on the side of the brain where they held the handset.
Lennart Hardell and others. Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumours: increased risk associated with use for equal to or greater than 10 years, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 64, pages 626-632, 2007 [abstract] • 13 October 2007

Britain: Losing the workplace cancer fight
Britain is seriously underestimating the risk of contracting cancer at work, according to new research. A new study by Stirling University has found the figure could be four times higher than the official estimate and says HSE's recommendations for action range “from complacent to non-existent.”
Stirling University/Hazards magazine news release • Rory O’Neill, Simon Pickvance and Andrew Watterson. Burying the evidence: How Great Britain is prolonging the occupational cancer epidemic, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health (IJOEH), volume 13, number 4, pages 432-440, October-December 2007 • Hazards cancer webpages and work cancer prevention kit • 13 October 2007

Britain: Smoke clears for bar staff
England’s smoking ban has led to healthier workplaces in the hospitality industry, according to new research. In the first report into the impact of the English ban, which was introduced in July, scientists discovered firm evidence of its benefits.
CRUK news releaseBBC News OnlineHazards smoking news and resources • 6 October 2007

USA: Industry obstructs cancer progress
Documents linking industrial chemicals to cancer are being kept from the public gaze as a result of industry lobbying, a new report has claimed. OMB Watch says its report, ‘An attack on cancer research’, shows how industry has “repeatedly misused the Data Quality Act (DQA) to suppress important cancer-related information.”
OMB Watch news release • An attack on cancer research: Industry's obstruction of the National Toxicology Program [pdf] • Hazards occupational cancer webpages and Work cancer prevention kit • 22 September 2007

UK ‘lags behind’ on cancer deaths
Cancer survival rates in the UK are trailing behind much of the continent and in some cases struggling to stay ahead of eastern European countries despite significantly more funding. A damning online editorial published alongside the findings in the Lancet Oncology medical journal suggests the cancer plans introduced in England in 2000 and Scotland in 2001 are not working and that remedying the problem would take a fundamental overhaul of NHS services.
BBC News Online • Franco Berrino and others. Survival for eight major cancers and all cancers combined for European adults diagnosed in 1995–99: results of the EUROCARE-4 study, Lancet Oncology Online, published online 21 August 2007. DOI:10.1016/S1470-2045(07)70245-0 • Hazards occupational cancer webpages and new Work cancer prevention kit • 25 August 2007

Britain: Cancer increase highlights work risks
A study by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the UK Association of Cancer Registries (UKACR) has identified increases in a range of cancers. The most common cancers identified in the new CRUK figures have strong occupational links.
Cancer Research UK cancer statisticsHazards occupational cancer webpages and Work cancer prevention kit • 18 August 2007

Canada: Payouts for smelter cancer deaths
The families of 10 former workers at a Canadian smelter and who killed by occupational cancers are eligible for compensation, the body responsible for payouts has ruled. The Quebec workplace accident commission determined the workers in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, Quebec, Alcan smelter were exposed to dangerous levels of carcinogens which ultimately led to cancer.
CAW news releaseCBC News • 4 August 2007

Europe: Excellent work cancer campaign resources
The European trade union safety thinktank HESA has published an excellent online occupational cancer resource. HESA says it is safe to say that cancer is now the main cause of ‘death by working conditions’ in Europe, adding this cancer epidemic is part of a major health and safety challenge facing workers.
HESA occupational cancers webpagesHazards cancer webpages and work cancer prevention kit • 4 August 2007

Australia: Concern at new ABC breast cancer case
Australian journalists' union MEAA wants broadcaster ABC to extend its cancer cluster investigation to other Brisbane sites after yet another breast cancer diagnosis for a Toowong studio former employee. Media union MEAA Queensland secretary, David Waters, called for a register of past and present employees for health monitoring purposes, adding: “There is universal concern amongst ABC Brisbane employees about this cancer cluster… Yes, we have seen 15 cases of breast cancer since 1994 but all staff are concerned about cancer and that extends to men.”
Sydney Morning HeraldWork cancer prevention kit • 21 July 2007

Britain: More work cancers than officials admit
Occupational cancers are killing more people that published official estimates, new figures show. Research commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and presented to an HSE-organised seminar last month concluded six cancers alone were responsible for 7,380 deaths a year. HSE’s current estimate for all occupational cancers, published on its website, is 23 per cent lower, putting the figure for all workplace cancers at just 6,000 deaths a year.
Risks 314, 7 July 2007 • Hazards work and cancer webpages • 7 July 2007

Britain: Report criticises HSE ‘complacency’ on cancer
Work-related cancers will claim thousands of lives each year for a further working generation as a result of the “shocking complacency” of the government’s health and safety watchdog, a new report is warning. ‘Burying the evidence’ says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has neither the resources nor the strategy to tackle the workplace carcinogen exposures killing at least 12,000 people each year.
Cancer Prevention Coalition news release and full report, Burying the evidence: How the UK is prolonging the occupational cancer epidemicHSE news release • 30 June 2007

USA: Outrage at work cancer report delay
A Minnesota state senator and the United Steelworkers union have called for investigations into a state Health Department delay in releasing information about deadly cancers in Iron Range miners. Bob Bratulich, director of District 11 of the United Steelworkers, said: “It is unconscionable, unethical, and probably criminal for a public agency to withhold information about a potential health risk to workers.”
Workday MinnesotaMankato Press Press • 23 June 2007

USA: Bullets, bombs and nuclear power plants
Unlike gunfire, emissions from a nuclear plant cannot be heard, tasted, seen or sensed as they are released. Twenty-four hours a day, a nuclear power plant, quietly running, gives off some 200-plus radioactive isotopes that fall to earth at various rates, depending upon their weight and size and the wind direction.
San Francisco Bayview • 19 June 2007

France: Brain tumour link to pesticides
Agricultural workers exposed to high levels of pesticides have a raised risk of brain tumours, research suggests. All agricultural workers exposed to pesticides had a slightly elevated brain tumour risk, the French study found, but the paper published online by the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine reported the risk was more than doubled for those exposed to the highest levels.
Dorothée Provost and others. Brain tumours and exposure to pesticides: a case-control study in, southwestern France, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published online 30 May 2007; doi: 10.1136/oem.2006.028100 [abstract] • BBC News Online • 9 June 2007

Australia: Qantas in chrome cancer payout
Australian airline Qantas could face tens of millions of dollars in compensation after a dying aircraft maintenance worker was awarded almost Aus$1 million (£0.41m) for lung cancer he contracted after working for the airline. Sheet metal worker Philip Johnson, who worked at the airline's Sydney Airport base between 1971 and 1991, was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago, the condition deemed to have been caused by the inhalation of hexavalent chromium, a known cause of occupational cancer.
The Daily TelegraphGlobal union cancer campaign • 2 June 2007

Switzerland: Magnetic fields linked to rail cancers
Railway workers exposed to extremely low frequency magnetic fields have an elevated risk of certain blood cancers, new study findings suggest. In a study of more than 20,000 Swiss railway workers who were followed for 30 years, researchers found that certain workers' risk of myeloid leukaemia and Hodgkin's lymphoma climbed in tandem with their exposure to these fields, with train drivers most at risk.
Dr Martiin Röösli and others. Leukaemia, brain tumours and exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields: cohort of Swiss railway employees, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published online 24 May 2007; doi: 10.1136/oem.2006.030270 [abstract] • Hazards prevent work cancer kit • 2 June 2007

Britain: Cancers killed rubber worker
A 43-year-old man who inhaled dangerous chemicals whilst working in the rubber industry died from a form of cancer only usually seen in pensioners, an inquest has heard. Timothy Kirkby died at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary on 20 July last year; he had cancer in a kidney and in his bladder and urethra.
Burton MailGlobal union prevent cancer campaign • 26 May 2007

South Africa: Benzene ‘harms refinery staff’
A study at a fuel refinery in South Africa has found that benzene in petroleum causes high levels of DNA damage in refinery workers, distribution workers, tank drivers and office staff alike. The Wits School of Public Health study found that continued exposure of workers to the known workplace carcinogen reduced the ability of their bodies to repair the damage to DNA, the body’s genetic code.
Business Day
Hazards cancer prevention news and resources • 19 May 2007

Global: Moves to tackle toxic wood boards
Wood-based boards that can lead to workplace exposures to a mix of two known carcinogens pose an unacceptable risk, campaigners have warned. Australian construction union CFMEU says it may consider a ban on imports of MDF - medium density fibreboard – because of concerns about formaldehyde risks, while California legislators have introduced laws limiting the amount of the toxin in the boards.
CFMEU construction safety newsletter - [pdf] • US formaldehyde-free campaignHazards/Global union cancer prevention campaign19 May 2007

France: Chemical firm liable for kidney cancers
The world’s third largest animal feed supplement producer has been found liable for kidney cancers suffered by its staff. A social security tribunal in Moulin, France ruled in April that Adisseo had been grossly negligent and ordered the company to pay out compensation of 50,000 to 60,000 euros (£34,000-41,000) to each of nine current or former workers suffering from kidney cancer.
ETUI-REHS news report • 12 May 2007

Canada: Ontario tackles firefighting cancers
Firefighters deserve compensation for fire-related illnesses and the Ontario government is working to ensure they get the help they need, provincial premier Dalton McGuinty has said. The proposed amendment to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act in Canada’s most populous province would allow the government to make regulations affecting Ontario's firefighters that would identify eight types of cancer as presumed to be work-related and would include heart attacks as presumed to be work-related if they occur within 24 hours of a fire.
Ontario Office of the Premier news releaseHazards cancer prevention resources • 12 May 2007

Britain: Car union in offer to cancer families
Union leaders want to meet grieving families of men who died of cancer contracted while working at Southampton's Ford factory. The Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU) has offered to support relatives if they take legal action, after an investigation by local paper the Daily Echo revealed 21 cases of oesophageal cancer among workers at the Swaythling factory - more than three times the number of cases investigated in an independent study commissioned by Ford.
Daily EchoWork Cancer Prevention Kit, including guide to combating the top 10 workplace cancer concerns • 12 May 2007

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