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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.

Work cancer hazards

A continually-updated, annotated bibliography of occupational cancer research produced by Hazards, the Alliance for Cancer Prevention and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).




Discounting women Cancer studies have neglected the workplace risks faced by women. Hazards editor Rory O’Neill looks at new evidence of the damaging consequences for prevention, compensation and women’s health. Hazards 163, July -September 2023

Smoking gun Firefighters risk their lives to save ours. But work-related cancers caused by routine toxic exposures, both at incidents and in training, could be a far bigger risk to their health, warns Hazards editor Rory O’Neill. Hazards 152, December 2020

In the dark When a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) backed study concluded night work should lose its official label as a ‘probable’ cause of best cancer, the regulator said the findings were ‘vital’. It was also wrong, explains Hazards editor Rory O’Neill, with a new review by the UN’s cancer agency concluding the association also holds for other cancers. Hazards 150, July 2020

All out! Chemicals are everywhere. The global industry is set to grow four-fold by 2060. But toxic workplace exposures are already claiming at least a million lives each year. Sharan Burrow, head of the global union confederation ITUC, spells out why a new trade union campaign is an essential step to stopping the chemical carnage. Hazards 145, Jan-Mar 2019 • Also in Spanish, French and Dutch

Target cancers Hazards and the global union confederation ITUC produce a world first at-a-glance guide to work cancers and their causes. Hazards 145, Jan-Mar 2019 • Also in Spanish and French

Chemical reaction On International Workers' Memorial Day, 28 April, unions demand an end to preventable toxic exposures at work. An ITUC/Hazards pin-up-at-work poster. Hazards 145, Jan-Mar 2019 Also in French and Spanish.

Fuming We warned over 30 years ago that diesel fumes were deadly, with millions at risk at work every day. If the authorities had listened then, today’s diesel exhaust driven public health catastrophe could have been averted. Hazards editor Rory O’Neill reveals the criminal acts that left a working generation exposed and cost tens of thousands their lives. Hazards 144, October-December 2018

Die diesel die Diesel exhaust fumes are a dirty, deadly and daily exposure for millions of workers. Hazards editor Rory O’Neill looks at how union reps can tackle this top public health menace.Hazards 144, October-December 2018

Graveyard shift An Oxford University study concludes the classification of night work as a cause of breast cancer ‘is no longer justified’. Cancer Research UK says women should be ‘reassured’. But Hazards discovered the research may have got it seriously wrong, with devastating consequences for prevention. Hazards 136, October-December 2016

Friendly fibre Britain has history on asbestos. It has the highest death rates from asbestos cancers in the world. It is also home to some of the industry’s most relied-upon scientists. Hazards editor Rory O’Neill investigates. Hazards 133, January-March 2016

Dead serious  With occupational cancer killing at a rate of more than one a minute worldwide, global union leader Sharan Burrow fires a stern warning at rogue employers: “If you expose us, we’ll expose you.” Hazards 130, April-June 2015 

Cancer cause  Your cancer may be 100 per cent caused by your job, but a dodgy numbers game played by industry and the courts means in most cases your employer will not bear the cost. Hazards challenges a system that means when it comes to compensation, most cancers don’t count. Hazards 130, April-June 2015

Mean test For seven of the top 10 entries on the official UK occupational cancer risk ranking, you can forget about government payouts. Professor Andy Watterson and Hazards editor Rory O’Neill argues that an unjust state compensation scheme means most conditions, including breast cancers linked to shiftwork, will never overcome an arbitrary double-the-risk qualification hurdle and calls for reform of this ailing system. Hazards 129, Jan-March 2015 

Lab rats Some scientific hired guns try to hide their industry ties; others flaunt them. Either way cash-for-science can be very bad news for your health. Hazards follows the money.
Hazards special online report December 2013

Dust storm A UK conference of dust exposure experts is attracting unwanted attention, reports Hazards editor Rory O’Neill. Professor Ken Donaldson, the scientific chair of Inhaled Particles XI, has been identified in a potential asbestos cancer 'crime-fraud' controversy and accused of having undeclared links to the industry.
Hazards 123, July-September 2013

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



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

From pink to prevention

ABVV-FGTB - Objectif: zéro cancer professionnel French

ABVV-FGTB - Doel: nul kanker op het werk Dutch

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

From pink to prevention

Global: The chemicals cover-up A report on the history of the collusion between chemical companies and the regulators in the USA over the past hundred years
The poison papers

IMF occupational cancer webpages

BWI occupational cancer webpages (English)

Alliance for cancer prevention Facebook pagesBlog

Unifor Prevent Cancer Campaign

CC OO Prevent Cancer Campaign

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





Global: Mixed exposures to lung carcinogens at work heightens risks
Greater than expected increases in lung cancer rates have been found when workers faced exposures to more than one potential workplace cause, a study has found. The findings have implications for those working in construction, foundries and welding where multiple exposures to some or all of these carcinogens may be routine.
Olsson A, Bouaoun L, Schüz J, Vermeulen R, Behrens T, Ge C, and others. Lung cancer risks associated with occupational exposure to pairs of five lung carcinogens: results from a pooled analysis of case-control studies (SYNERGY), Environmental Health Perspectives, volume 132, issue 1, published online 18 January 2024. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP13380.
Environmental Health Perspectives. Work cancer hazards. 6 February 2024

Global: Hundreds of chemicals linked to breast cancer
More than 900 chemicals, many present in common consumer products, have the potential to increase breast cancer risks, a new study has concluded. Researchers at the Silent Spring Institute examined chemicals listed in major reference databases, including those from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the US Environmental Protection Agency. They then classified chemicals based on their toxicity and ability to interfere with key human hormones associated with breast cancer. Based on that analysis, the researchers identified 921 chemicals that can promote breast cancer, including pesticides and those used in food, drinks and medications. Chemicals on the list include permethrin, which is used to control mosquitoes; profenofos, which is used to kill bugs on cotton crops; and trifluralin, which is used to control weeds.
Jones R, White A. Invited Perspective: New Motivations and Future Directions for Investigating Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer, Environmental Health Perspectives, 10.1289/EHP13777, 132, 1, (2024).
Work Cancer Hazards, 15 January 2024

Australian regulator's silica plan will save lives - unions
Australia's top union body ACTU has welcomed a report by the country's national safety regulator recommending a complete prohibition on the use of engineered stone. The use of the product has been linked to especially damaging exposures to respirable crystalline silica, which can cause the lung scarring and progressive disease silicosis, lung cancer and autoimmune and other diseases.
Work cancer hazards, 27 October 2023

USA: IAFF calls for broad strategy to end fire fighter cancer
The union representing US firefighters is calling on the fire service, government, industry, and scientific community to unite in support of a broad strategy to combat fire fighter occupational cancer.
Work cancer hazards, 20 October 2023

Global: Work cancers in women go unstudied and unaddressed A rare study of occupational hazards and ovarian cancer has found new evidence that many common jobs undertaken by women are associated with an elevated risk. After accounting for other risk factors, calculations using the Canadian job-exposure matrix (CANJEM) confirmed that working for 10 or more years as a hairdresser, barber, beautician and in related roles was associated with a three-fold higher risk, while employment for 10 or more years in accountancy was associated with a doubling in risk, and working in construction with a near tripling in risk.
Work cancer hazards, 5 October 2023

Global: Low level radiation risk ‘under-estimated’
The cancer risk resulting from ‘low level’ radiation exposures at work has been under-estimated, the UN’s top cancer agency has said. Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), working with institutions in France, Spain, the UK, and the USA, report that workers in nuclear facilities who are persistently exposed to low doses of ionising radiation experience an increase in deaths due to cancer.
Work cancer hazards, 5 October 2023

Global: WHO accused of ‘failure’ on women’s work cancer The UN’s top health and cancer agencies were accused in August 2023 of ‘institutional failure’ and of perpetuating the under-count of occupational cancers in women through “the publication of inaccurate statements about the adverse health effects of exposure to asbestos among females.”
Work cancer hazards, 5 August 2023

Australia: Cancer risk from welding fumes
Unions in Australia are demanding action to protect workers from cancer- and lung disease-causing welding fumes. Andrew Dettmer, national president of the union AMWU, which has launched a national campaign, said: “It's not just people who are doing the welding, but people in a welding workplace,” adding: “If they are exposed and they do get lung cancer or other diseases such as manganism, that can be a death sentence.”
Nine News. 7 June 2023

Spain: Major study confirms wood dust link to lung cancer
Occupational exposure to wood dust causes an increase of over 40 per cent in the risk of developing lung cancer, a major study has found. Researchers from Spanish universities and health institutes evaluated eleven studies with a total of 2,368 small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cases and 357,179 controls. The systematic review and meta-analysis of the scientific literature determined there was a 41 per cent higher relative rate of this type of lung cancer in workers occupationally exposed to wood dust.
Work cancer hazards, 30 July 2023

Britain: Most wood firms have deadly dust exposures
Many woodworking businesses are endangering workers’ lives by failing to implement the measures required to prevent or control exposure to wood dust, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned as it launched a 2023/24 inspection campaign. In 2022/23, HSE carried out more than 1,000 woodworking inspections and found 78 per cent of businesses were not compliant in protecting workers from dusts linked to asthma, cancer and lung diseases - primarily dust from hardwoods, softwoods and composite materials such as MDF.
HSE news release and Dust Kills: Wood Dust campaign page. 7 June 2023

Britain: Testicular cancer linked to certain jobs
Agricultural, sales and electrical and electronics workers are at almost twice the risk of a testicular cancer, a study has found. “Our findings suggest that agricultural, electrical and electronics workers, and salesmen workers experience an increased risk of TGCT,” the paper concluded, with rates more than 70 per cent higher than expected in these groups.
Margot Guth and others and the TESTIS study group. Testicular germ cell tumour risk by occupation and industry: a French case-control study – TESTIS, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 25 May 2023:oemed-2022-108601. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2022-108601. Epub ahead of print. 31 May 2023

Britain: Woman fired while battling breast cancer
A marketing manager who was sacked after bosses avoided criticising her because she had breast cancer has won a discrimination claim after successfully representing herself. Lucy Lyddall had been underperforming in her role at The Wooldridge Partnership construction company but was never told her managers were unhappy with her, an employment tribunal heard.
Daily Mail. Yahoo News. 10 May 2023

Britain: Joinery workers exposed to dangerous wood dust
A London joinery firm has been fined £20,000 plus £1,500 costs for failing to control its employees’ exposure to wood dust. F&E Joinery Limited was inspected in May 2022 as part of a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) campaign targeting woodworking businesses.
HSE news release. 4 May 2023

Global: Work chemical exposure causes pancreatic cancer
Every year spent working with chemical agents increases the risk of pancreatic cancer, a study has found. Overall any work with chemicals increased the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 1 per cent; those with more than 20 years of exposure had a 39 per cent increased risk of the disease, according to a study published in the Journal Occupational Medicine
H Boonhat, A P Pratama, J T Lin, R T Lin. Duration–response association between occupational exposure and pancreatic cancer risk: meta-analysis, Occupational Medicine, 2023, kqad050, 27 April 2023. https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqad050 4 May 2023

Britain: Firefighters’ union calls for cancer compensation  
The firefighters’ union FBU has called on the UK government to introduce legislation to ensure that firefighters with cancer and other diseases linked to their work can receive compensation. The union says ‘presumptive legislation’ is already the norm for many forms of cancer and some other diseases in the USA, Australia and Canada.
FBU news release and FBU research on occupational diseases and firefighters. Details of presumptive legislation in North America and Australia. 4 May 2023

Europe: Top court condemns EC over carcinogen
The EU’s top court has condemned the European Commission over its 2020 decision to allow a group of companies to continuing to use chromium trioxide, a cancer-causing chemical found in everything from chrome plating to lipstick cases. The Court of Justice of the EU found that the assessment on which the Commission based its decision did not comply with the EU’s chemicals legislation, REACH, as it had “too many shortcomings.”
Politico. 26 April 2023

New Zealand: Call for silica action spreads
New Zealand’s national union body NZCTU is calling on the country’s government to protect working people who are being exposed to deadly dust from engineered stone. NZCTU president Richard Wagstaff said workers across multiple industries are facing unnecessary risks associated with hazardous exposure to silica and other dust.
NZCTU news release.
ACTION! Send an e-postcard to HSE demanding it introduce a more protective UK silica exposure limit no higher than 0.05mg/m³ and with a phased move to 0.025mg/m³. www.hazards.org/HSEstopkillingus 26 April 2023

Britain: Health workers need better radiation protection
Women working in healthcare who are regularly exposed to radiation from x-rays and other imaging procedures need better protection to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer. An editorial in the journal BMJ notes that ionising radiation is a known human carcinogen and breast tissue is highly radiation sensitive - however, current radiation PPE provides inadequate protection for breast tissue as it leaves exposed the area close to the armpit (known as the upper outer quadrant and axilla - the most common site of breast cancer).
Isobel Pilkington and others. Editorial: Protecting female healthworkers from ionising radiation at work, BMJ, 12 April 2023;381:e075406 19 April 2023

France: Union wins night worker breast cancer case
In a landmark case, a night worker in France has had her breast cancer recognised as an occupational disease. This decision was the result of a large-scale union campaign launched in 2017 by a 'breast cancer collective' created by the union CFDT.
HESA magazine, ETUI, February 2023. More on breast cancer and night work. 22 February 2023

Britain: Grenfell firefighters in cancer cluster shock
Up to a dozen firefighters who saved lives at the Grenfell Tower have been diagnosed with cancers. The Mirror said its investigation found firefighters, some aged only in their 40s, are suffering with rare cancers linked to the high levels of exposure to contaminants during the huge rescue effort in 2017 and could be the tip of the iceberg, with some cancers taking up to 25 years to appear.
The Mirror. 18 January 2023

Britain: Firefighters hit by cancer, strokes and heart problems
Firefighters are far more likely to die from cancer, heart attacks and strokes than the general public, a new FBU backed study has found. Their mortality rate from all cancers is 1.6 times higher than the rest of the population, according to the research, conducted by the University of Central Lancashire for the union. The workers are also five times more likely to die from a heart attack and three times more susceptible to strokes, the paper revealed. Firefighters’ greater exposure to contaminants and fire toxins are almost certainly the cause, the union warned, calling for immediate preventive action.
FBU news release. AA Stec, A Robinson, TAM Wolffe, E Bagkeris. Scottish Firefighters Occupational Cancer and Disease Mortality Rates: 2000-2020, Occupational Medicine, kqac138, 10 January 2023. https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqac138.
Morning Star. The Guardian. BBC News Online.10 January 2023

Britain: FBU Scotland makes strides on DECON
There has been significant progress in Scotland on the FBU’s groundbreaking DECON campaign, the firefighters’ union has said. What initially began with an intention to engage Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) managers and Scottish FbU members on DECON quickly grew into a much larger piece of work, including a meeting of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Contaminants Group, a livestream for members, meetings with Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), and a meeting of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Senior Leadership team.
FBU news release. 18 November 2022

Cancer risks in healthcare workers, ETUI webinar, 12 October
In the healthcare sector, 12.7 million workers across the EU are potentially exposed to Hazardous Medicinal Products (HMPs). These can also pose health risks to nurses, pharmacists, cleaners and other exposed workers. The Europe-wide trade union research institute ETUI, which is to run a 12 October webinar on the issue, has identified 121 HMPs commonly used in the healthcare sector which can cause cancer or reproductive disorders in professionals exposed to them.
Cancer risks in healthcare workers: Identification of Hazardous Medicinal Products (HMPs), ETUI webinar, 10-11am UK time, 12 October 2022. Register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
The ETUI's list of hazardous medicinal products (HMPs), ETUI report, October 2022. Risks 1062. 6 October 2022

France: Authorities link asbestos to more cancers
Some cancers of the larynx and ovaries are linked to exposure to asbestos, French health authorities have confirmed. Laryngeal and ovarian cancers are “under-reported and under-recognised” when they are linked to occupational exposure to this material, reported the National Health Security Agency (Anses), in a move clears the way for better compensation for affected individuals, with Anses supporting the addition of both cancers to the list of occupational diseases officially recognised in France.
France Télévisions. Risks 1060. 23 September 2022

Britain: FBU safety campaign wins top TUC award
The firefighters’ union FBU’s DECON cancer prevention campaign has won a top prize at the TUC communications awards. The union snagged first place for best membership communication project for the DECON campaign, which aims to reduce the impact of fire contaminants on firefighters’ health, by providing firefighters with practical training around PPE, washing and decontamination protocols.
FBU news release. 7 September 2022

Australia: Stricter silica rules will save lives and money
Preventing just five deaths a year caused by exposure to respirable silica would cover all the costs of far stricter controls on the cancer and lung disease-causing dust. Curtin University occupational cancer researchers Renee Carey and Lin Fritschi warn that that without this action, Australian workers over a working lifetime will develop more than 10,000 future lung cancers, or a ‘future excess fraction’ of around 1 per cent of all the lung cancers in the Australian adult population plus more than 80,000 cases of the often deadly lung scarring disease silicosis.
The future burden of lung cancer and silicosis from occupational silica exposure in Australia: A preliminary analysis. Curtin University report commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), 2022. The Conversation. 13 July 2022

Global: Work exposures as a firefighter cause cancer - official
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has declared that occupational exposures as a firefighter a preventable cause of human cancer. On 1 July, a working group of the World Health Organisation (WHO) agency announced: “After thoroughly reviewing the available scientific literature, the Working Group classified occupational exposure as a firefighter as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), on the basis of sufficient evidence for cancer in humans.”
IARC alert, news release, Q&A and infographic.
Demers P, DeMarini D, Fent K, Glass D, Hansen J, Adetona O and others. Carcinogenicity of occupational exposure as a firefighter, Lancet Oncology, Published online 30 June 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(22)00390-4 5 July 2022

Britain: Firefighters’ union welcomes cancer recognition
The UK firefighters’ union FBU has welcomed a decision by the World Health Organisation’s cancer research agency IARC to recognise work as a firefighter as a cause of several cancers and has called on the UK government and fire service employers to act. FBU national officer Riccardo la Torre said: “This classification should be a huge wake-up call for both the government and fire and rescue services. Government now need to urgently acknowledge that cancer is an occupational hazard within firefighting.”
FBU news release. Work Cancer Hazards blog. 5 July 2022

Europe: Pollution causes 10 per cent of all cancer cases
Exposure to air pollution, second-hand smoke, radon, ultraviolet radiation, asbestos, certain chemicals and other pollutants causes over 10 per cent of all cancer cases in Europe, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report. Most of these environmental and occupational cancer risks can be reduced by preventing pollution and changing behaviours, according to 'Beating cancer — the role of Europe’s environment.’
EEA news release and Beating cancer — the role of Europe’s environment. 29 June 2022

Britain: FBU expands work on fire contaminant risks
Firefighters’ union FBU is to expand its work on the health impact of fire contaminants – toxic substances produced by fires - on firefighters. At its annual conference, FBU agreed to fight for its DECON best practice training and prevention programme to be expanded throughout the fire service, including via national guidance, contaminants monitoring, cancer screening and fire station design principles.
FBU news release. 18 May 2022

Australia: Unions wants more firefighter cancers covered
The United Firefighters Union of Australia is leading calls for the number of cancers covered by firefighter presumptive legislation to be expanded from 12 to 19. Union president Greg McConville said the seven additional cancers would be thyroid, pancreatic, skin, cervical, ovarian, penile and lung cancer.
UFUA news release and briefing paper. News.com.au. Risks 1044. 10 May 2022

Norway: Benzene risks to offshore workers under-estimated
The number of workers exposed to the cancer-causing benzene contaminating the muds used in offshore drilling is greatly under-estimated, a union has warned. Halvor Erikstein, an organisational secretary and occupational hygienist with the Norwegian energy union SAFE, investigated benzene exposures during offshore oil well drilling and found a University of Bergen matrix used to designate exposed jobs “has completely omitted exposure from benzene blending into drilling mud” and during the ‘deaeration’ of systems.
Drilling Mud and Benzene The Elephant in the Room Chemical Environment, SAFE, 2022. Summary. Risks 1038. 29 March 2022

Britain: FBU highlights increased risk for firefighters
Firefighters’ union FBU is continuing its campaign to use a cancer registry to expose the link between the job and raised cancer risks and to press for prevention. FBU national officer Riccardo la Torre said: “We need every single firefighter to fill out that registry, whether you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, whether you’ve been diagnosed with a disease or if you’ve never been diagnosed with anything – we need you to fill out that registry now.”
FBU news release and video. Risks 1036. 16 March 2022

Global: Stricter diesel exhaust rules would save many lives
A substantial number of lives would be saved each year by implementing a stringent workplace diesel engine exhaust exposure limit, a study has concluded. Risk assessment experts from Utrecht University calculated implementing the proposed health based DEE limit would reduce the ELR by approximately 93 per cent, while the proposed regulatory limits of 10 and 50  µg/m3 would reduce the ELR by 51 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively.
Roel Vermeulen and Lützen Portengen. How serious are we about protecting workers health? The case of diesel engine exhaust,  Occupational and Environmental Medicine Published Online First: 11 February 2022. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2021-107752 Risks 1033. 17 February 2022

Britain: New study exposes UK inaction on diesel controls
A new evaluation of the protective health effect of tight workplace exposure standards for diesel engine exhaust has exposed the potentially high cost of the UK’s continuing failure to introduce any standard and its refusal to regulate diesel exhaust as a workplace cancer risk. The Utrecht study would indicate enforcing the EU standard would save over 300 lives a year in Great Britain from lung cancer alone.
Control of diesel engine exhaust emissions in the workplace, HSE, 2012. IARC Monographs – volume 105, Diesel and gasoline engine exhausts and some nitroarenes,  IARC, 2012.
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, volume 122(2), pages 172-7, February 2014 (first published online 22 November 2013). 
The burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain: Lung cancer, HSE, 2012.
Fuming feature, Diesel out prevention factsheet and Die diesel die pin-up-at-work poster. Hazards 144, October-December 2018.
Diesel exhaust in the workplace: A TUC guide for trade union activists, October 2018. Unite diesel emissions register. Risks 1033. 17 February 2022

Australia: Work cancer action could save thousands a year
Over one in ten (14 per cent) cases of lung cancer in Australia could be prevented if asbestos, silica, diesel exhaust and welding fume exposure were reduced in workplaces, according to the country’s national union federation ACTU. It says the figure, based on best available data, corresponds to roughly 1,800 work-related deaths every year from lung cancer that could have been avoided with better safety measures.
ACTU news release. Risks 1032. 9 February 2022

Britain: FBU firefighter cancer campaign takes off
A campaign by firefighters’ union FBU to reduce the risk of occupational cancer linked to exposure to fire contaminants is having an impact “in every corner of the fire and rescue service”, the union has said. FBU national officer Riccardo la Torre said: “We’re so pleased with how this project has taken off since we launched it live from a fire station.”
FBU news release, DECON campaign and cancer campaign video. Risks 1032. 9 February 2022

Britain: Firefighters urged to protect themselves from toxics
Firefighters have been urged by their union to use its DECON campaign protect themselves from toxic fire contaminants. FBU national officer Riccardo la Torre said: “DECON guidance and training helps firefighters protect themselves through simple actions like better cleaning of gear and making sure to always wear breathing apparatus when it’s needed, never putting it on too late.”
FBU news release and DECON training and guidance. Firefighter Cancer and Disease Registry. Risks 1027. 4 January 2022

Britain: Payout for worker sacked while battling cancer
A man who was made redundant after battling cancer has been compensated after it was found he had been a victim of disability discrimination. Unite member Gary Hall, a father of two from Stevenage, had been working for NextGenAccess Ltd in Hatfield - initially as a contractor and later as an employee - since 2017.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 1023. 23 November 2021

Britain: New union training to combat firefighter cancers
A new training programme designed by the firefighters’ union FBU will address the “significant” cancer risks that come with the job. The union’s DECON programme intends to help reduce the impact of toxic substances released in fires.
FBU news release, DECON training and cancer and disease registry. Risks 1013. 8 September 2021

Australia: Fears about hidden toll from deadly silica
Workers at risk of developing an incurable, progressive and fatal lung disease caused by silica dust need greater protections across a range of workplaces, Australian unions have warned. The warning comes after a spate of cases of the lung-scarring disease silicosis affecting young workers.
Sydney Morning Herald.
ACTION: Send an e-postcard to HSE demanding it introduce a more protective UK silica standard no higher than 0.05mg/m³ and with a phased move to 0.025mg/m³. www.hazards.org/HSEstopkillingus. More on work-related dust diseases. Risks 984. 11 February 2021

FBU launches firefighter cancer and disease registry
Firefighters’ union FBU has launched a new nationwide database to assess the potential link between exposure to fire toxicants and the increased occurrence of cancers and other diseases among firefighters. The union, which has developed the registry with researchers at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), is calling on every current and former UK firefighter suffering from a serious or chronic illness to add their name to the registry, a move it says will help save firefighters’ lives in the future.
FBU news release and UK Firefighters Cancer and Disease Registry (FCDR). Risks 984. 11 February 2021

Japan: Government must compensate site asbestos victims
Japan's Supreme Court has ordered the government to pay more than 22 million dollars (£16.2m) in compensation to former construction workers who developed lung diseases caused by asbestos. The ruling is the first holding the government responsible in lawsuits filed by former construction workers and bereaved families.
Asahi Shimbun. NHK World. Risks 979. 4 January 2021

Britain: Urgent action needed on firefighter cancers
Groundbreaking research has revealed the serious toxic health risks to UK firefighters during a fire. The independent University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) report commissioned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) included a survey of moer than 10,000 currently-serving firefighters and found they were four times as likely to have been diagnosed with cancer compared to the general population (4.1 per cent of survey respondents, compared with less than 1 per cent of the general population).
FBU news release and full report. Morning Star.
IAFF list of presumptive legislation on cancer in firefighters across North American jurisdictions. TUC occupational cancer guide. Risks 975. 28 November 2020

Britain: Professional drivers put at greater risk of cancer
Professional drivers are facing a routine and serious health risk from diesel exhaust fume exposures at work. In what they described as “the largest real-world in-vehicle personal exposure study to date”, researchers from the MRC Centre for Environment and Health, Environmental Research Group and Imperial College London, found that professional drivers are regularly exposed to hazardous levels of diesel emissions as part of their work.
IOSH news release and full report.
See the Hazards magazine feature Fuming, factsheet Diesel out and poster Die diesel die. Risks 974. 19 November 2020.

Europe: Major coalition aims to stop cancer at work
A Stop Cancer at Work Campaign has been launched by coalition of professional organisations, trades unions and patient groups. The groups say their objective is to ensure that the current fourth revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD) includes groups of carcinogenic and mutagenic hazardous drugs, which cause cancer, and that have not been included by the European Commission in proposals published on 22 September 2020.
Stop Cancer at Work campaign news release, website and petition. Risks 969. 17 October 2020

Europe: Work cancer action welcome, but not enough
Trade unions have welcomed action by the European Commission they say will protect over 1.1 million people from work-related cancer by putting binding exposure limits on three dangerous substances. The Commission has proposed Binding Occupational Exposure Limit Values (BOELs) on acrylonitrile, nickel compounds and benzene as part of an update to its Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD).
EC news release and Commission Proposal for the fourth revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive. ETUC news release. Risks 967. 3 October 2020

Britain: HSE refuses to see the light on night work cancer risks
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) position statement on night work cancer risks has been dismissed as ‘nonsense’ by leading occupational cancer experts. Since a 2016 study backed by HSE and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) concluded the classification of night work as a cause of breast cancer was ‘no longer justified’, both organisations have stuck by this conclusion.
In the dark: HSE refuses to see the light on night work and cancer risks, Hazards magazine, number 150, 2020.  IARC Monographs Volume 124: Night Shift Work, June 2020. Risks 958. 1 August 2020

Global: IARC confirms night work cancer link
An association between night work and breast and other cancers has been confirmed after a major review by an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) expert group. IARC’s 2007 ‘probably carcinogenic in humans’ Group 2A ranking was challenged in 2016 after an Oxford University study co-financed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) concluded “night shift work, including long-term night shift work, has little or no effect on breast cancer incidence.”
IARC Monographs Volume 124: Night Shift Work, June 2020. Volume 124 webpage. Graveyard shift: Cancer all-clear for night work based on ‘bad science’, warn scientists, Hazards magazine, number 136, December 2016. Risks 951. 13 June 2020

Britain: HSE inspections follow welding cancer alert
The government’s workplace safety regulator is reminding employers that they must protect their workers’ health by controlling the risks from welding fume. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says its current programme of inspections will review health and safety standards across the country follow an HSE safety alert issued in February 2019 after new evidence showed exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause cancer.
HSE news release. Welding, Molybdenum Trioxide, and Indium Tin Oxide, IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, Volume 118.
RESOURCES: TUC guidance on occupational cancer prevention: Occupational Cancer - A Workplace Guide. ITUC/Hazards work cancer hazards blog. Risks 936. 29 February 2020

Europe: Occupational cancer webinar, 12:00-1:00pm, 28 February
The European Cancer League (ECL), the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) are to run a special webinar on occupational health and the European Code Against Cancer on 28 February, from 12:00-1:00pm UK time. The groups say cancer is the number one work-related cause of death in the European Union, responsible for more than 100,000 deaths per year.
Occupational cancer webinar, 12:00-1:00pm UK time, 28 February. Register now. Risks 935. 22 February 2020.

Austria: Glyphosate ban set to take effect in January
The Austrian government’s plan to ban sales and use of the cancer-linked herbicide glyphosate from 1 January 2020 looks set to go ahead. Neither the European Commission nor EU member states have challenged formally the ban on all uses of glyphosate adopted by Austria's parliament in July this year, paving the way for it to come into effect.
IUF news release. Risks 926. 7 December 2019

Unions welcome extension to roadmap on carcinogens
Unions have joined safety organisations and regulators across Europe in signing up to an extension of the EU Roadmap on Carcinogens. Europe-wide trade union organisation ETUC said the objective of this voluntary action scheme is to raise awareness amongst workers and employers about the risks of exposure to carcinogens.
ETUC news release. EU Roadmap on Carcinogens Convenant and dedicated website. Risks 926. 7 December 2019

Britain: New diesel exhaust fume risk prevention guide  
A new resource “to help workers protect themselves from dangerous diesel engine exhaust emissions (DEEEs)” has been launched by IOSH, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. The card advises people working with or around diesel-powered equipment or vehicles to turn off engines if not needed, use tailpipe exhaust extraction systems, use workplace air extraction, wear a mask, and get trained.  
IOSH news release and pocket card for workers on how to prevent exposure to DEEEs. 
UNION RESOURCES: Diesel exhaust in the workplace: A TUC guide for trade union activists, October 2018. Fuming feature, Diesel out prevention factsheet and Die diesel die pin-up-at-work poster. Hazards 144, October-December 2018. Unite diesel exhaust registerguide for members and posterRisks 922. 9 November 2019

Europe: Spain warned by unions not to sacrifice workers’ health
Europe’s top trade union body has condemned Spanish government proposals to reduce the protection for workers against cancer-causing substances. The government plan is on the pretext of transposing the newly revised European Union (EU) directive on carcinogens or mutagens at work into national law – but the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is urging Spain’s caretaker government to abandon the plan to increase the exposure limits for the workplace carcinogens crystalline silica, acrylamide and bromoethylene.
ETUC news release. Work cancer hazards blog.
UK silica campaign: Choked! The evidence for introducing a lifesaving new silica dust exposure limit, Hazards, Number 147, September 2019. Send an e-postcard to HSE demanding it introduce a more protective UK silica exposure limit no higher than 0.05mg/m³ and with a phased move to 0.025mg/m³. www.hazards.org/HSEstopkillingus. Risks 921. 2 November 2019

Canada: Rubber workers’ plight should inspire national action
Jim Brophy, one of Canada’s leading experts in workplace health issues, is calling for a large-scale public investigation into occupational health risks and the compensation system for workers in the country. Brophy’s plea comes after a series of scandals which have seen decisions to deny occupational cancer compensation to thousands of workers, but where campaigns by unions and victims’ advocacy organisations have secured recent reversals of these decisions affecting rubber and manufacturing plant workers.
The Record. Risks 919. 19 October 2019

Britain: Firefighters with cancer demand government action
Firefighters have called for more protection after research found they were being exposed to dangerously high levels of harmful chemicals. Their plea echoed union-backed scientific research that said firefighters were at risk of getting cancer because of contaminated clothing and equipment.
FBU news release. UCLAN research report. BBC News Online. Northern Echo. Yorkshire Post.
IAFF list of presumptive legislation on cancer in firefighters across North American jurisdictions. TUC occupational cancer guide.
Cancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Risks 917. 5 October 2019.

Britain: Medical screening must be available in toxics linked schools
The EIS has repeated its call for medical screening to be implemented at Buchanan and St Ambrose High school in North Lanarkshire for staff and pupils who wish it. The union call came on the publication of an expert criticism of the Independent Review of the school campus that concluded “not all the key questions about the site have been fully answered and not all the key evidence required has been collected and made available.”
EIS news release. STV News. The Times. Radio Clyde.
Andrew Watterson. Brownfields, contaminated land, blue water and broken bridges. Pollution, public health, trust and transparency: the communication and information gap and how to bridge it better. An analysis of the Buchanan High School/Ambrose High School Campus Independent Review and related issues at Coatbridge, Scotland. 2019. Risks 914. 14 September 2019

USA: New ‘working women at risk’ tool
A new online tool – Working Women at Risk – intends to help researchers and advocates to visualise the exposures to chemicals that might be putting working women in California at risk for breast cancer. Using the tool, which is equally useful wherever you live and work, individuals can search data on over 1,000 chemicals, sorted into 24 chemical groups, by occupation, ethnicity/race, and age.
Working women and risk tool and background. Risks 913. 7 September 2019

Britain: Teachers to return to controversial schools site
Teaching union NASUWT has said its members can return to work at a schools site linked to a possible bladder cancer cluster, as long as promised remedial action and ongoing testing goes ahead.  The decision came after a meeting with experts who have been advising the union on health and safety issues at Buchanan High and St Ambrose schools in North Lanarkshire.
NASUWT news release. Risks 911. 24 August 2019

Britain: Questions after probe dismisses school site health risks
An independent review into fears of dangerous contamination on a school campus in North Lanarkshire has concluded the schools are safe but criticised authorities for their “slow” and “defensive” response to health concerns raised by unions and parents. And Professor Andrew Watterson of Stirling University said “there’s more work needs to be done,” adding: “We haven’t seen details about necessarily all the chemicals that have been tested and the decision making.”
NASUWT news release. EIS news release. STV News. BBC News Online. Risks 910. 17 August 2019

Global: Top cancer journal warning on continued asbestos use
A leading cancer journal has warned the continued use of asbestos in many countries will perpetuate the human suffering caused by “this highly preventable cause of premature death.” The editorial in The Lancet Oncology highlights the record high asbestos-related death rates in the UK. It also criticises the repeat failure of the US to ban chrysotile asbestos, noting this was now being challenged in the courts.
Asbestos exposure: the dust cloud lingers: Editorial, The Lancet Oncology, volume 20, issue 8, page 1035, 1 August 2019. Risks 909. 10 August 2019

Britain: Supreme Court victory in landmark disclosure battle
The Supreme Court has ruled an asbestos disease victims’ advocacy group can access court documents used in a legal case against the asbestos manufacturer Cape Intermediate Holdings Limited. The landmark judgment in favour of the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK will have ‘wide-ranging implications for the future disclosure of documents used in court proceedings’ and will impact on the access to documents given to people and organisations who are not part of court proceedings, the group’s lawyers have said.
Supreme Court judgment and summary, 29 July 2019. Leigh Day Solicitors news release. Risks 908. 3 August 2019

Night shift work ‘probably’ causes cancer in humans
The available evidence suggests working night shifts “probably” causes cancer in humans, a group of top experts has reported. An International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) working group concluded: “In sum, the Working Group classified night shift work in Group 2A, ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’, based on limited evidence of cancer in humans, sufficient evidence of cancer in experimental animals, and strong mechanistic evidence in experimental animals.”
IARC news report. Carcinogenicity of night shift work, IARC Monographs volume 124 group, The Lancet Oncology, published Online First, 4 July 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30455-3. Risks 906. 20 July 2019

Britain: Contamination tests to go ahead at cancer linked school site
Teaching union NASUWT has welcomed an announcement from the Scottish government that it is to order testing of the water, soil and methane membrane at the Buchanan and St Ambrose schools campus in North Lanarkshire. Last month, the union took strike action to withdraw its members from the campus over the failure of the employer, North Lanarkshire Council, “to act appropriately to address the serious concerns over the health and safety of the site”.
NASUWT news release. Scottish government news release. Morning Star. BBC News Online.
Resources: TUC occupational cancer guide. Work cancer hazards blog. Cancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Risks 905. 13 July 2019

Britain: Safety strike at cancer linked school site
Teachers at Buchanan High School in North Lanarkshire took the first of seven planned days of strike action on 20 June over what their union NASUWT has described as a failure by their employer to “act appropriately” to address serious safety concerns. The union’s stance followed the identification of four cases of bladder cancer in teachers who had worked in one corridor at the site.
NASUWT news release. Sunday Post. The Herald. The Independent. BBC News Online.
Resources: TUC occupational cancer guide. Work cancer hazards blog. Cancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Risks 903. 29 June 2019

Britain: Probe over school bladder cancer cluster
The Scottish government is to investigate a potentially work-related bladder cancer cluster after four teachers were diagnosed with the condition while working at a school built on a former landfill site. Public health experts will examine the fears of parents and teachers at Buchanan and St Ambrose High School in Coatbridge that harmful waste chemicals were to blame.
Scottish government news release. NASUWT news release. EIS news release. The Independent.
Resources: TUC occupational cancer guide. Work cancer hazards blog. Cancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Risks 902. 22 June 2019

Korea: Samsung victim wins 10-year fight for recognition
A victim of occupational cancer caused by toxic exposures while working at Samsung has won a decade long fight for compensation. On 5 June, Han Hye-kyung was notified her workers’ compensation claim for a brain tumour had been approved by the compensation authority KCOMWEL.
SHARPS news report. Risks 901. 15 June 2019

Britain: GMB to campaign on work-related bladder cancer
The union GMB is to launch an awareness campaign on the link between work in certain industries and bladder cancer. The decision at the union’s annual Congress commits it to target a problem it says particularly affects workers in the chemical dye and rubber industries, but notes chemicals linked to bladder cancer also occur “in hair dyes, paints, fungicides, cigarette smoke, plastics, pollutant emissions from industrial installations, and metal and motor vehicle exhausts, which can affect both male and females.”
GMB news release. Fight Bladder Cancer.
Resources: TUC occupational cancer guide. Work cancer hazards blog. Cancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Risks 901. 15 June 2019

USA: Union retirees helps work radiation cancer victims
Garry Steffy typically starts his day with a cup of coffee and a quick look through the newspaper for obituaries of people who once worked for ATI Specialty Alloys and Components in the small town of Millersburg near Albany, Oregon. Steffy has made a mission of searching for members of the steelworkers’ union USW and former co-workers who qualify for a special government compensation programme after developing radiation-related cancer while working on the US nuclear weapons programme.
USW news report and SOAR webpage. Risks 900. 8 June 2019

Britain: Site proves it is possible to slash diesel use
A major construction job in Wales has shown it is possible to quickly slash the use of cancer and lung disease linked diesel. Solar lighting and power generation has achieved 97 per cent diesel-free operation on a major rail renewal project at Llanwern, South Wales.
Network Rail news release. Global Railway Review.
Diesel exhaust in the workplace: A TUC guide for trade union activists, October 2018. Fuming feature, Diesel out prevention factsheet and Die diesel die pin-up-at-work poster. Hazards 144, October-December 2018. Risks 900. 8 June 2019

Global: Science institute exposed as industry mouthpiece
The non-profit International Life Science Institute, which claims to conduct “science for the public good” that “improves human health and well-being and safeguards the environment,” is in reality an industry lobby group, according to a new study. Findings published in the journal Globalization and Health detail examples of how ILSI advances the interests of the food industry, especially by promoting industry-friendly science and arguments to policymakers.
USRTK news release. Sarah Steele and others. Are industry-funded charities promoting “advocacy-led studies” or “evidence-based science”?: a case study of the International Life Sciences Institute, Globalization and Health, volume 15, number 36, 3 June 2019. Documents from the ILSI study will be posted in University of California, San Francisco’s Food Industry Documents Archive, in the U.S. Right to Know Food Industry Collection. The Guardian. ABC News. Risks 900. 8 June 2019

Korea: Government study confirms semiconductor cancer risk
Female workers at South Korean semiconductor plants face a 1.59 times higher risk of contracting leukaemia and a 2.8 times higher risk of dying from the disease than other workers, according to the findings of the country’s first ever government backed study. Hwang Sang-gi, the president of the campaign group SHARPS and father of Samsung occupational cancer victim Hwang Yu-mi, said campaigners had been vindicated.
SHARPS news report. Workcancerhazards blog. Hankyoreh. SBS News. KBS News. Risks 899. 1 June 2019

New Zealand: Strong support for firefighter cancer law
The New Zealand firefighters’ union (NZPFU) has said it has received ‘strong support’ in its campaign for official no-fault compensation for firefighters struck by a range of cancers. The union was speaking out after it enlisted the help of a Canadian union legal expert to promote the case for ‘presumptive’ legislation, where named cancers are presumed to be caused by work as a firefighter and compensated by the country’s no-fault Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).
NZPFU news report. TVNZ breakfast show. Workcancerhazards blog. IAFF list of presumptive legislation on cancer in firefighters across North American jurisdictions.
TUC occupational cancer guide. Work cancer hazards blog. Cancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Risks 899. 1 June 2019

Global: Monsanto hit by new cancer and surveillance exposure
Global agrochemicals giant Monsanto has faced a double hit, ordered to make another massive cancer compensation payout and accused of compiling a potentially illegal dossier on its opponents. A jury in California awarded more than $2bn (£1.5bn) to a couple who said the best-selling weedkiller Roundup was responsible for their cancer.
BBC News Online and story on Monsanto’s dossier of opponents. Le Monde (in French). The Guardian. New York Times. Fleishman Hillard. Risks 897. 18 May 2019

Global: Governments agree to ban on cancer chemical
Firefighters’ unions have played a central role in a successful push to get a cancer-linked chemical banned under a United Nations treaty. Governments at a Stockholm Treaty meeting in Geneva agreed to the global ban on PFOA/PFAS, fluorinated chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive harm that does not break down and causes adverse health effects at background levels.
IPEN news release and expert report on alternative firefighting foams. ENDS Report. Bloomberg Environment. IAFF cancer campaign. Risks 896. 11 May 2019

USA: Workers can challenge work’s toxic toll
A new advocacy guide from the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) aims to assist workers who are seeking to take action to eliminate or reduce their exposure to hazardous substances. Katie Tracy, CPR policy analyst and co-author of the guide, said: “People exposed to toxics at work tend to encounter dangerous substances more frequently, for longer durations, and at higher levels than the public at large, adding: “Too often their employers fail in their obligation to protect them, so we’ve put this guide together to share resources and strategies workers can use to secure a safe workplace.”
CPR news release and report, Chemical detox for the workplace: A guide to securing a nontoxic work environment, CPR, April 2019. Risks 894. 27 April 2019

Britain: Work cancer risk warning after government safety cuts
New evidence confirming a cancer risk to tyre and rubber workers may go ignored because of government safety deregulation and cuts, the union Unite has warned. The union was commented after research published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine revealed that workers in the tyre and rubber industry remain at significant risk of developing cancers caused by exposure to N-nitrosamines and rubber dust.
Unite news release. ITUC/Hazards cancerhazards blog.
Mira Hidajat and others. Lifetime exposure to rubber dusts, fumes and N-nitrosamines and cancer mortality in a cohort of British rubber workers with 49 years follow-up, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 76, number 4, pages 250-258, April 2019. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2018-105181 
International: ITUC/Hazards 28 April dedicated events and resources website.
All out! Global union confederation ITUC wants to show killer chemicals the door, ITUC briefing. Also in French and Spanish. 28 April ITUC ‘Chemical reaction’ poster in English, French and SpanishCancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Also in French and Spanish. Risks 894. 27 April 2019

Britain: Work cancer risk warning after government safety cuts
New evidence confirming a cancer risk to tyre and rubber workers may go ignored because of government safety deregulation and cuts, the union Unite has warned. The union was commented after research published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine revealed that workers in the tyre and rubber industry remain at significant risk of developing cancers caused by exposure to N-nitrosamines and rubber dust.
Unite news release. ITUC/Hazards cancerhazards blog.
Mira Hidajat and others. Lifetime exposure to rubber dusts, fumes and N-nitrosamines and cancer mortality in a cohort of British rubber workers with 49 years follow-up, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 76, number 4, pages 250-258, April 2019. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2018-105181 
International: ITUC/Hazards 28 April dedicated events and resources website.
All out! Global union confederation ITUC wants to show killer chemicals the door, ITUC briefing. Also in French and Spanish. 28 April ITUC ‘Chemical reaction’ poster in English, French and SpanishCancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Also in French and Spanish. Risks 894. 27 April 2019

Britain: UK lobbied to block cancer warning on titanium dioxide
A suspected carcinogen found in spray paints, sun creams and varnishes many not now be required to carry a cautionary health label in the European Union, after lobbying led by the industry and the UK government. In what campaigners say is an unprecedented and potentially illegal step, the European Commission has dropped a recommendation from its chemicals advisers for mandatory health warnings on all inhalable liquid forms of titanium dioxide (TiO2).
The Guardian. TDMA webpage. Risks 893. 13 April 2019

Britain: Cancer risks injured nuclear worker had skin removed
Sellafield Ltd has been fined for a criminal safety offence after an injury saw a worker exposed to eight times the annual limit of plutonium. The breaches occurred at the Cumbrian nuclear processing plant in February 2017 and led to worker Jonathan Greggain having to have a section of skin removed from his hand and spending six months off work. 
ONR news release. BBC News Online. Blackpool Gazette. Risks 893. 13 April 2019

Global: ITUC aims to show killer chemicals the door
In a high profile new campaign, the global trade union confederation ITUC is calling for killer chemicals to be shown the door. In a campaign kicking off on Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April, ITUC is urging reps to seek to eliminate or minimise exposure to carcinogens in the workplace and says a first of its kind ITUC at-a-glance guide to work cancers and their causes will ensure unions can identify and challenge preventable and potentially deadly exposures.
All out! Global union confederation ITUC wants to show killer chemicals the door, Hazards magazine, number 145, April 2019. Also in French and Spanish.
ITUC/Hazards 28 April dedicated events and resources website.
ITUC 28 April webpages in English, French and Spanish.
28 April ITUC ‘Chemical reaction’ poster in English, French and Spanish.
Cancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Also in French and Spanish.
Hazards Campaign 28 April resources page and order form. Free copies of the Hazards Campaign’s 2019 Workers’ Memorial Day posters are available now; to get your copies email the Hazards Campaign or phone 0161 636 7558.
TUC 2019 Workers’ Memorial Day events page and asbestos, diesel exhaust and workplace cancers guides. Send details of your 28 April 2019 events to the TUC health and safety department. Risks 893. 13 April 2019

Europe: Law makers refuse to approve cancer chemical
MEPs have voted, by 309 votes to 286 with 24 abstentions, to oppose a draft EU proposal to authorise certain uses of chromium trioxide, which is found in paint and plating in industries such as aerospace, automotive and cosmetics. The recommendation is not binding and only asks the EU executive to review its decision to authorise use, which has already been backed by governments.
European Parliament resolution. Risks 892. 6 April 2019

Britain: Risks from chemical cocktails ‘under-estimated’
The health risks associated with combined exposures to a range of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are ‘systematically underestimated’, a new study has concluded. The European research project EDC-MixRisk is critical of the current assessment methods employed in the European Union on EDCs, a large group of chemicals linked to reproductive harm, cancer and other health effects.
EDC-MixRisk news release. HEAL news release. ENDS Europe. CHEM Trust blog. Risks 891. 30 March 2019

Global: Asbestos industry renews deadly product defence
The global asbestos lobby is campaigning actively to resist listing of chrysotile asbestos under a UN Treaty that would requiring its cancer-causing exports to include a health warning. The next Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention will start on 29 April 2019, the day after International Workers’ Memorial Day.
Asbestos lobby news release. Corporate deceit: Asbestos espionage at home and abroad, IBAS, March 2019. Latest USGS global asbestos production statistics.
TUC 2019 Workers’ Memorial Day events page and asbestos and workplace cancers guides. Send details of your 28 April 2019 events to the TUC health and safety department, email: healthandsafety@tuc.org.uk
ITUC/Hazards 28 April 2019 events and resources webpage and cancerhazards blog. Risks 890. 23 March 2019

Europe: Court overrules approval of cancer chemicals
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has banned with immediate effect the use of known carcinogens used for road markings and in paints and plastics. The court’s Tribunal of the EU, which deals with disputes between EU institutions, ruled in the case brought by the Swedish government that an earlier European Commission decision to authorise uses of the chromium VI compounds, lead sulphochromate yellow and lead chromate molybdate red, was unlawful.
ClientEarth news release. EEB news release. ENDS Europe. Risks 889. 16 March 2019

Korea: Samsung still denying work disease victims justice
Campaigners from SHARPS, the advocacy group for victims of occupational diseases contracted working for electronics multinational Samsung, say the company is failing to compensate many affected workers. SHARPS says it has calculated that the majority of more than 200 new occupational disease cases linked to exposures at Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and its affiliates are not covered by the compensation programme the conglomerate launched last year.
SHARPS news report. Risks 888. 9 March 2019

Britain: Glyphosate cancer risk confirmed in new study
A new scientific analysis of the cancer-causing potential of glyphosate herbicides, the most widely used weed killing products in the world, has found that people with high exposures have a 41 per cent increased risk of developing a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The evidence “supports a compelling link” between exposures to glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) and increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), the authors concluded.
Luoping Zhang and others. Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence, Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research, published online ahead of print 10 February 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mrrev.2019.02.001
The Guardian. The Monsanto Papers. TUC glyphosate guide. Risks 886. 23 February 2019

Canada: Receipts expose retail workers to cancer chemical
Retail workers are being exposed to “worrying” levels of BPA and BPS - hormone disrupting industrial chemicals that have been linked to diabetes, obesity, ADHD and breast and prostate cancers - by simply handling thermal paper receipts, a study by Environmental Defence Canada (EDC) has found. “These slips of paper are covertly exposing cashiers to worrying levels of hormone disrupting BPA and BPS every day,” Muhannad Malas, toxics programme manager at EDC, said in the study.
EDC news release. CTV News. Risks 885. 16 February 2019

Korea: Samsung researcher, 31, dies of leukaemia
A young researcher has died of leukaemia only three years after he began work at Samsung SDI Co Ltd, the conglomerate’s electronic materials unit. The otherwise healthy 31-year-old researcher, identified only by his surname Hwang, died on 29 January, about 13 months after his diagnosis.
SHARPS news report. Risks 884. 9 February 2019

Britain: Firefighters want protection from deadly work diseases
Fire service employers are falling short on their responsibility to protect firefighters from exposure to carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxins (CMRs), the firefighters’ union FBU has warned. The union says there are stark differences in the range of cancers recognised as occupational diseases in different countries, with the UK trailing many other nations
FBU news release.
TUC occupational cancer guide. Work cancer hazards blog. Risks 884. 9 February 2019

Britain: Employers urged to act on welding cancer risks
Safety professionals’ organisation IOSH is urging employers to ensure workers are protected from cancer-causing welding fumes as new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) control standards takes effect. The revised standards were introduced in response to an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification of welding fumes and UV radiation from welding as top rated Group 1 causes of cancer in humans.
IOSH news release. Welding, Molybdenum Trioxide, and Indium Tin Oxide, IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, Volume 118. Risks 882. 26 January 2018

Europe: Glyphosate reprieve based on ‘plagiarised’ report
European regulators based a decision to relicense the controversial weedkiller glyphosate on an assessment large sections of which were lifted directly from industry documents, according to a report for the European parliament. A crossparty group of MEPs commissioned an investigation into claims that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) copy-and-pasted tracts from studies by the pesticide manufacturer Monsanto.
Stefan Weber and Helmut Burtscher-Schaden. Detailed Expert Report on Plagiarism and superordinated Copy Paste in the Renewal Assessment Report (RAR) on Glyphosate, 2019.
Socialists and Democrats of the European Parliament news release and related video report. BfR statement.
Charles M Benbrook. How did the US EPA and IARC reach diametrically opposed conclusions on the genotoxicity of glyphosate-based herbicides?, Environmental Sciences Europe, volume 31, number 2, 2019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12302-018-0184-7 The Guardian. Risks 881. 19 January 2019

Britain: Diesel industry and regulators condemn thousands to die
A warning over 30 years ago that workplace diesel fume exposures were deadly went ignored, a ‘criminal’ move that condemned thousands of workers each year to an early grave, a report in Hazards magazine has revealed. The Hazards report says “the UK’s prevention strategy – or absence of one – is based on a fatal mixture of a lack of the right intelligence and lack of give-a-damn. All topped up with a dose of industry foul play.”
Fuming feature, Diesel out prevention factsheet and Die diesel die pin-up-at-work poster. Hazards 144, October-December 2018.
Diesel exhaust in the workplace: A TUC guide for trade union activists, October 2018. Risks 880. 12 January 2019

Europe: Work cancers cost hundreds of billions a year
Work-related cancers costs between €270 and €610 billion (£240bn to £543bn) a year across the EU, the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) has said. The trade union health and safety thinktank says occupational cancers are the primary cause of work-related deaths in industrialised societies, with more than 100,000 people losing their lives each year as a result of exposure to workplace carcinogens.
ETUI news release. Cancer and work: understanding occupational cancers and taking action to eliminate them, ETUI, December 2018: Free pdf downloadHesaMag 18, Work-related cancer: emerging from obscurity, ETUI, December 2018. Risks 878. 8 December 2018

Korea: Samsung must now work with unions on safety
Global electronics giant Samsung has said it is sorry for the work diseases it caused but it must now engage with unions to make its plants safer, the global union IndustriALL has said. The union call came after the company sealed a comprehensive occupational disease compensation deal with a public apology.
SHARPS news report. IndustriALL news release. Korea Times. Good Electronics news report. NPR news report. BBC News Online. Risks 877. 1 December 2018

Canada: Border agents at risk of cancer, report finds
Workers guarding the Canada-US border are at a higher risk of developing cancer, according to researchers. Their report, published online in the peer-reviewed journal New Solutions, examines evidence from a workers' compensation case involving a female border guard who worked for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on the Ambassador Bridge for 20 years before developing breast cancer.
Michael Gilbertson and James Brophy. Causality Advocacy: Workers’ Compensation Cases as Resources for Identifying and Preventing Diseases of Modernity, New Solutions, Online First, 22 November 2018. CBC News. Risks 877. 1 December 2018

Korea: Samsung agrees to payouts after work disease deaths
A major campaign spearheaded by occupational disease victims and their families has forced Samsung to agree a wide-ranging compensation scheme. Those affected - and workers' children with related ailments - will receive up to 150m won (£102,907) per illness.
Sharps ‘Stop Samsung’ blog and SHARPS webpage. BBC News Online. Yonhap News. NDTV News. More on health and safety in the electronics industry. Risks 874. 10 November 2018

Britain: TUC action call on ‘workplace killer’ diesel exhaust
Diesel exhaust is one of the biggest workplace killers, the TUC has said, but has warned the UK is failing to take the action necessary to protect workers. In response, the TUC has published a guide to diesel exhaust that highlights the practical and simple steps that employers can take to protect their workers.
TUC news release and Diesel exhaust in the workplace: A TUC guide for trade union activists, October 2018. Risks 873. 3 November 2018

Britain: Shiftwork increase makes it time for action
The number of people working night shifts has increased by more than 150,000 over the past five years, a TUC analysis of official figures has revealed. The union body says the number working nights now stands at more than 3 million workers – or one in nine of the total UK workforce.
TUC news release and analysis. TUC blog. HSE webpage on shiftwork and breast cancer risk. The burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain – Breast cancer, RR852, HSE, December 2012. Risks 873. 3 November 2018

Europe: New ‘compromise’ standard for diesel fumes
The Europe-wide trade union body ETUC has welcomed a new diesel exhaust fumes exposure standard. It says 3.6 million workers in the EU are at risk of exposures, adding the new European occupational exposure limit will prevent at least 6,000 deaths per year from lung cancer.
ETUC news release. Socialists and Democrats news release. SCOEL recommendation Risks 871. 20 October 2018.

Global: Study finds breast cancer risk in women working nights
Women who work at night, especially during pre-menopause, may be at greater risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has found. The findings, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, revealed the rates of certain breast cancers increased with the number of hours worked per night, as well as the number of years spent on the night shift - however, the risk seemed to diminish two years after going off the night shift.
University of Montreal news release. Emilie Cordina-Duverger and others. Night shift work and breast cancer: a pooled analysis of population-based case–control studies with complete work history, European Journal of Epidemiology, volume 33, issue 4, pages 369–379, 2018. doi: 10.1007/s10654-018-0368-x Risks 869. 8 October 2018

Global: Scientists hid Monsanto’s hand in their ‘independent’ research
An academic journal has conceded that agrochemicals giant Monsanto didn’t fully disclose its involvement in published research that claimed Roundup, the world’s best selling herbicide, is safe. The ‘Expression of Concern’ issued by Critical Reviews in Toxicology, a journal that analyses health risks of chemicals, may bolster arguments that Monsanto, acquired by Bayer this year, ghost-wrote safety reviews.
Work cancer hazards blog. Bloomberg News. 26 September 2018 Expression of Concern and main article:  Williams GM, Aardema M, Acquavella J, Berry SC, Brusick D, Burns MM, de Camargo JLV, Garabrant D, Greim H, Kier LD, Kirkland DJ, Marsh G, Solomon KR, Sorahan T, Roberts A, Weed DL. A review of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate by four independent expert panels and comparison to the IARC assessment, Critical Reviews in Toxicology, volume 46 (supplement 1), pages 3-20, September 2016.
D Bernstein and others. Health risk of chrysotile revisited, Critical Reviews in Toxicology, volume 43, number 2, pages 154-183, 2013.
TUC glyphosate guide. Risks 869. 8 October 2018

Europe: Fighting cancer ‘should not be a trade secret’
Organisations representing governments, employers and trade unions have agreed to extend a collaboration to fight work-related cancers in Europe. The commitment, agreed at a Vienna conference organised by the EU’s Austrian Presidency, extends the initiative launched in Amsterdam in May 2016 by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), BusinessEurope, the European Commission, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and two EU countries, the Netherlands and Austria.
ETUC news release. EU-OSHA news release. EU Roadmap on CarcinogensRisks 868. 29 September 2018

Britain: Union calls for action on weedkiller
The GMB union is calling for urgent action to protect workers from the effects of the weedkiller glyphosate which, in 2015, was classified as "probably carcinogenic" by the World Health Organisation. Glyphosate, which is sometimes sold as Roundup, is the biggest selling weedkiller in the world and is used both in agriculture as well as gardening and forestry.
GMB press release TUC guidance. Risks 867. 22 September 2018

Japan: First officially recognised Fukushima work cancer death
Authorities in Japan have accepted for the first time that a worker at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant died from a radiation-related cancer. The man, who was in his 50s, died from lung cancer..
Asahi Shimbun. New York Times. BBC News Online. Sky News. The Guardian. Risks 866. 15 September 2018

USA: Texas firefighters with cancer often denied compensation
Many Texas cities are denying workers’ compensation to firefighters with cancer, according to union leaders and state lawmakers. Over the past six years, more than 90 per cent of the 117 workers’ compensation claims filed by Texas firefighters with cancer have been denied, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, despite a 2005 state law requiring the government to presume that firefighters' cancers are caused by exposure to carcinogens on the job.
Houston Chronicle. Risks 863. 25 August 2018

Global: UK prof defends cancer agency against industry attack
A leading UK public health expert has defended a major UN agency that he says has been ‘vilified’ by industry lobbyists after it determined the pesticide glyphosate to be ‘probably carcinogenic’. Commenting on the well-resourced, high level industry attack on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Neil Pearce, a medical statistics professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), said we “need independent scientific bodies such as IARC which can review the scientific evidence objectively, and without conflicts of interest, even if this leads to conclusions that some may find inconvenient.”
LSHTM expert opinion. ITUC/Hazards cancer hazards blog. Risks 863. 25 August 2018

USA: Monsanto found guilty of concealing glyphosate risks
A California jury has found Monsanto guilty of concealing the dangers of glyphosate, the world's most widely-applied herbicide, and awarded a terminally ill schools groundskeeper total damages of US$289 million. The unprecedented 10 August verdict delivered by the San Francisco, California jury in favour of Dewayne Johnson, 46, will weigh heavily on the more than 4,000 similar cases already lodged in the US alleging a glyphosate link to the blood cancer non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
IUF news release. Democracy Now. Workweek Radio podcast. US Right to Know statement. The Monsanto Papers. The Guardian. Bloomberg News. Risks 862. 18 August 2018

Britain: British Coal coke oven worker gets lung disease payout
A court judgment in a group action brought on behalf of 260 British Coal coke oven workers and their families, has seen another former miner awarded compensation, opening the way for many more settlements. Workers who contracted respiratory diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and lung cancer, as well as skin cancer, they believe were caused by exposure to harmful fumes at coking plants in England and Wales are seeking compensation.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release. Hugh James Solicitors news release. Devereux Chambers statement. Background: Relative risk - In the courts, it is relatively easy to evade work cancer justice, Hazards online report, June 2015. Risks 861. 11 August 2018

USA: Cancer-stricken worker puts Monsanto on trial
A worker stricken with a life-threatening cancer he believes was caused by his regular use of the pesticide glyphosate is taking its manufacturer, Monsanto, to court. Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper whose doctors believe may have little time to live, began his job in 2012 and in 2014 was diagnosed with the rare blood cancer Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).
IUF editorial. US Right to Know news release. US Right to Know: The Monsanto Papers. The Guardian. Risks 859. 28 July 2018

Korea: Samsung finally agrees diseases compensation arbitration
After years of pressure, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has finally agreed to a binding arbitration framework that calls on the multinational corporation to fully compensate victims of its occupational disease cluster. On 21 July, Samsung said it would act unconditionally on an arbitration proposal expected from a mediation committee in October.
SHARPS news report. Hankyoreh. Kyunghyang. JTBC TV. Hong Kong Standard. Risks 859. 28 July 2018

Global: Health warning after ‘dramatic decline’ in work cancer studies
As evidence shows occupational exposures are responsible for a substantial proportion of many cancers, studies to identify the groups at risk and the substances causing problems are drying up, top occupational cancer experts have warned. Four papers in the August 2018 issue of the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine highlight a problem that could ‘stall’ efforts to reduce the burden of occupational cancer.
Work cancer hazards blog.
Aaron Blair and Lin Fritschi. Are we doing enough to identify and prioritise occupational carcinogens? Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 75, issue 8, pages 543-544, 2018. doi:10.1136/oemed-2018-105189
Claire Marant Micallef and others. Occupational exposures and cancer: a review of agents and relative risk estimates, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 75, issue 8, pages 604-614, 2018. doi:10.1136/oemed-2017-104858
Dana Loomis and others. Identifying occupational carcinogens: an update from the IARC Monographs, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 75, issue 8, pages 593-603, 2018. doi:10.1136/oemed-2017-104944
James K H Jung and others. Examining lung cancer risks across different industries and occupations in Ontario, Canada: the establishment of the Occupational Disease Surveillance System, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 75, issue 8, pages 545-552, 2018. doi:10.1136/oemed-2017-104926 Risks 858. 21 July 2018

Britain: Number of asbestos deaths from mesothelioma up again
HSE also published figures on deaths from one occupational cancer. These show the annual toll from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma continues to climb, counter to HSE’s repeated predictions. In 2016, the latest year for which figures are available, there were 2,595 deaths, up 46 on the preceding year when 2,549 mesothelioma deaths were recorded.
HSE news release and mesothelioma death figures for 2016. Risks 857. 14 July 2018

USA: Flight attendants at higher risk of cancers
Flight attendants have a higher prevalence of several forms of cancer, including breast cancer, uterine cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, thyroid cancer and cervical cancer, compared with the general public, according to new research. “Our findings of higher rates of several cancers among flight attendants is striking given the low rates of overweight and smoking in our study population, which highlights the question of what can be done to minimise the adverse exposures and cancers common among cabin crew,” said Irina Mordukhovich, research fellow at Harvard Chan School.
Work cancer hazards blog. Harvard University news release. Eileen McNeely, Irina Mordukhovich and others. Cancer prevalence among flight attendants compared to the general population, Environmental Health, volume 17, number 49, published online 25 June 2018. doi: 10.1186/s12940-018-0396-8 Risks 856. 7 July 2018

Styrene ranking upgraded to ‘probably carcinogenic’
Styrene, a key component for many plastics and synthetic rubber, is "probably carcinogenic to humans", according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). An assessment this year by an IARC expert working group said there was now sufficient evidence to change its cancer rating from group 2B – possibly carcinogenic to humans – to 2A, a probable cause of cancer in humans.
Manolis Kogevinas and others. Carcinogenicity of quinoline, styrene, and styrene-7,8-oxide, The Lancet Oncology, volume 19, issue 6, pages 728-729, 2018. Chemical Watch. Daily Mail. Risks 852. 9 June 2018.

Britain: Work cancer hazards are being neglected, experts warn
Occupational cancer is a big killer, but studies to assess the risks to workers from tens of thousands of chemicals at work are either inadequate or just have not been done, top experts have warned. Scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) note the “recognition of occupational carcinogens is important for primary prevention, compensation and surveillance of exposed workers, as well as identifying causes of cancer in the general population.”
Dana Loomis, Neela Guha, Amy L Hall and Kurt Straif. Review: Identifying occupational carcinogens: an update from the IARC Monographs, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Online First, 16 May 2018. ITUC/Hazards Work Cancer Hazards blog. Risks 851. 2 June 2018

Global: Dramatic fall in asbestos production worldwide
There has been a dramatic drop in asbestos production worldwide, with just three countries continuing to mine the deadly fibre. Brazil’s 2017 ban on asbestos production and use means only Russia, China and Kazakhstan are now mining asbestos.
International Ban Asbestos Secretariat analysis. Risks 848. 12 May 2018

Britain: Furniture firm exposed workers to carcinogenic wood dust
A Hertfordshire furniture manufacturer has been fined after exposing its employees to significant quantities of hardwood dust, a hazardous substance known to cause occupational asthma, nasal cancer and which has been linked to lung cancer. Luton Magistrates’ Court heard how employees in Andrena Furniture Ltd’s workshop were exposed to hardwood dust on a daily basis.
HSE news release. ITUC/Hazards work cancer hazards website. Risks 848. 12 May 2018

Global: Day of action against rights and safety violator Samsung
Global electronic giant Samsung has been targeted by safety and labour standards campaigners over its deadly record of abuse. An international day of action against Samsung on 1 May saw the company’s bad practices exposed in Asia, Europe and the United States.
Good Electronics news release. Samsung campaign facebook page.
Modern Technology, Medieval Conditions, an ITUC report on Samsung’s operations worldwide. ITUC multimedia documentary: www.samsungexposed.org. Risks 847. 5 May 2018

Canada: Ontario expands automatic firefighter cancer payouts
The Canadian province of Ontario is extending a system that presumes certain cancers in firefighters qualify for compensation payouts. The new system adds cervical, ovarian and penile cancers to those covered by the scheme, which already includes brain, bladder, ureter, kidney, colorectal, oesophageal, breast, testicular, prostate, lung, skin, leukaemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
Ontario Ministry of Labour news release. Business Insider. IAFF list of presumptive legislation on cancer in firefighters across North American jurisdictions. Risks 846. 28 April 2018

USA: The 9/11 rescuers who died a day apart
According to records maintained by the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York (UFANYC) union, roughly one in eight firefighters who were at Ground Zero on 11 September 2001 have since come down with cancer. The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) says that about 6,000 of the 9/11 first responders are now living with cancer, with thousands more suffering breathing problems or mental health issues.
BBC News Online. NYCOSH World Trade Center Health Program webpages. Risks 844. 14 April 2018

Britain: Cancer common at work, rights often aren’t
More than half (53 per cent) of employees living with cancer do not know that their employer has a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments for them to return to work, according to Macmillan Cancer Support. The charity’s latest estimates say the number of working age people living with cancer in the UK increased by almost 10 per cent between 2010 and 2015, from 810,000 to 890,000.
Macmillan Cancer Support news release. Personnel Today. Risks 844. 14 April 2018

Britain: Union health warning on ‘shocking’ rail diesel fume risks
Workers at Amey Rail could be facing serious health risks from exhaust fumes produced by diesel trains, a union has warned. TSSA says its members at Amey who carry out tunnel examinations could be at risk of cancer and other chronic health conditions from prolonged exposure. TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Despite the seriousness of this health risk, Amey Rail’s management have not stopped using diesel powered Road Rail Vehicle Elevated Platforms in tunnels and have not provided convincing evidence that they are safe.”
TSSA news release. Morning Star. Risks 843. 7 April 2018

Britain: Next steps in group action on coke oven cancers
Hundreds of former steelworkers are believed to have joined a legal case seeking compensation for cancers and lung diseases caused by their jobs. The window to join the multi-million pound legal battle against Tata Steel UK for compensation for respiratory diseases and lung cancers has now closed, after the High Court set a deadline of 23 February to join a group action.
Scunthorpe Telegraph. Background on the case from Hugh James Solicitors and Hazards magazine. Risks 824. 24 February 2018

Canada: GE plant’s compo refusals get reversed
After a decades-long battle for compensation, the voices of ailing General Electric workers are finally being heard. Early indications are that around two-thirds of the previously denied occupational disease claims made by former employees at the GE plant in Peterborough, Ontario - one of Canada’s oldest industrial operations – are being overturned.
Toronto Star. Metro News. Risks 831. 6 January 2018

Global: Russia coerces Sri Lanka to reverse asbestos ban
As the first phase of Sri Lanka’s chrysotile asbestos ban was about to take effect, top chrysotile exporter Russia blocked Sri Lankan tea imports to the country, leading international trade unions and health campaigners to condemn the ‘economic blackmail’. On 18 December 2017, Russia abruptly halted imports of tea from Sri Lanka, a serious blow to the Sri Lankan economy - just two days later the Sri Lankan government announced its decision to defer banning asbestos imports from Russia.
APHEDA news release. IBAS news release. ColumboPage. Sunday Times SL. Risks 831. 6 January 2018

USA: Silica court victory will protect millions
An industry challenge to a new occupational silica rule has been rejected in its entirety by a three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals. Richard Trumka, president of the US national union federation AFL-CIO, said the court ruling was a ‘huge victory’ for working people, adding: “The court rejected industries’ arguments and directed the agency to further consider additional union safety recommendations.”
AFL-CIO news release. EHS Today. Courthouse News and court ruling. Risks 831. 6 January 2018

Global: Health inequalities top of the work cancer agenda
Urgent action is required to protect workers from cancer risks at work, a major international conference has heard. “Anything which would be prohibited on grounds of consumer health or environmental protection should also be prohibited in workplaces,” said Laurent Vogel, a researcher at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI).
ETUI briefing and speakers' presentations. Risks 828. 2 December 2017

Europe: Weedkiller glyphosate gets a 5-year reprieve
EU countries have voted to renew the licence of glyphosate, a widely used weedkiller at the centre of a major workplace health and environmental controversy. The proposal at the European Commission's Appeal Committee got 18 votes from countries in favour and nine against, with one abstention, ending months of deadlock.
BBC News Online. Independent Science News.
TUC glyphosate briefing. Risks 828. 2 December 2017

Korea: Samsung worker's family wins brain tumour case
South Korea's Supreme Court has ruled that the family of a Samsung worker who died of a brain tumour is eligible for state compensation for an occupational disease. It overturned an appeal court's decision in the case of Lee Yoon-jung, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour at age 30 and died two years later.
CBS News. ABC News. Risks 827. 25 November 2017

Europe: ‘Immense’ cost of work cancers calculated
The annual financial cost arising from occupational cancers across the European Union is ‘immense’, a new study has indicated. The European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), which released the findings at a Work and Cancer conference in Brussels, said the total cost ran to between €270 billion (£241bn) and €610 billion (£545bn) each year, which represents between 1.8 per cent and 4.1 per cent of the gross domestic product of the European Union.
ETUI news release and study report. Risks 826. 18 November 2017

Britain: Scientists warn of nanotube ‘asbestos’ cancer parallel
There is strong evidence that certain carbon nanotubes used in manufacturing could pose the same cancer risk as asbestos, a study by the Medical Research Council (MRC) has concluded. “Unlike previously reported short-term studies, this is the first time the mesothelioma-causing effects of long and thin carbon nanotubes have been monitored in mice over many months,” said the study’s senior author, Professor Marion MacFarlane.
MRC news release. Tatyana Chernova and others. Long-Fiber Carbon Nanotubes Replicate Asbestos-Induced Mesothelioma with Disruption of the Tumor Suppressor Gene Cdkn2a (Ink4a/Arf), Current Biology, Volume 27, Issue 21, p3302–3314.e6, 6 November 2017. Risks 825. 11 November 2017

Canada: Firefighters absorb cancer chemicals through skin
Toxic chemicals are putting firefighters at risk of cancer and other diseases, a study of their real-life exposures has shown. “Firefighters had from three to more than five times the amount of metabolites, or by-products of PAHs, in their urine after a fire compared to before the fire,” says Jennifer Keir, senior author of the study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
University of Ottawa news release and video. Jennifer Keir and others. Elevated Exposures to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Other Organic Mutagens in Ottawa Firefighters Participating in Emergency, On-shift Fire Suppression, Environmental Science & Technology, published online 18 October 2017. The Guardian. Risks 823. 28 October 2017

Canada: Study highlights high work cancer toll
Canadian research has identified the high toll each year from work-related cancers. The study, ‘Burden of Occupational Cancer in Ontario’, which concluded there are ‘many opportunities’ to reduce the number of occupational cancers, found solar radiation, asbestos, diesel engine exhaust and crystalline silica had the largest estimated impact on cancer burden and also the highest number of exposed workers in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.
Burden of occupational cancer in Ontario: Major workplace carcinogens and prevention of exposure, Occupational Cancer Research Centre and Cancer Care Ontario, October 2017. Globe and Mail. Risks 821. 14 October 2017

Britain: Union warning over toxic diesel exhaust exposures
Legal claims over exposure to diesel exhaust fumes at work are rising as unions raise concerns about toxic air in the workplace. Royal Mail and at least one local authority are among major employers who are being sued over their alleged failure to protect staff from the damaging health effects of diesel pollution from vehicles.
The Guardian. Risks 819. 30 September 2017

Britain: Listen now to TUC’s occupational cancer webinar
TUC health and safety expert Hugh Robertson has hosted a live ‘webinar’ – an online seminar - to discuss the causes of occupational cancer, the problems with the law and what unions are doing about it. If you missed it, you can now watch the whole event online.
Watch the TUC occupational cancer webinar on YouTube. Download the presentation by TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson. Risks 818. 23 September 2017

Britain: Re-think needed on workplace cancers, says TUC
A plan to reduce occupational cancer rates in Europe misses both the point and many of the causes, the TUC has said. The trade union body estimates over 70 per cent of cancer cases are caused by exposures at work not covered by the European carcinogens directive, and adds even where there are control limits proposed these are often ‘completely inadequate’.
TUC blog and occupational cancer guide. Risks 817. 16 September 2017

Europe: Occupational cancer protection ‘in sight’
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are being urged by trade unions to back an agreement between the European Council and European Parliament to give workers more and better protection against occupational cancer. The call from unions came after the new measures won the support of the parliament’s employment committee.
ETUC news release. Work cancer hazards blog. Risks 816. 9 September 2017

Britain: TUC webinar challenges occupational cancer
The TUC is taking its campaign against occupational cancer into cyberspace. A live TUC Education webinar on 14 September will hear TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson explore which industries are most affected by occupational cancer, what the law says and what unions can do to reduce or eliminate the risks.
TUC occupational cancer webinar, starts live 2.30pm, 14 September 2017. More information on TUC webinars from TUC Education. TUC occupational cancer guide. Work cancer hazards blog. Risks 815. 2 September 2017

Global: Light at night linked to breast cancer
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a Harvard University study. The large long-term study also found a stronger association among women who worked night shifts.
Harvard University news release. Peter James and others. Outdoor light at night and breast cancer incidence in the Nurses’ Health Study II, Environmental Health Perspectives, volume 125, issue 8, 17 August 2017. doi: 10.1289/EHP935
ITUC/Hazards work cancer hazards blog. Risks 815. 2 September 2017

Canada: Asbestos exposure comes at a very high price
Asbestos isn’t just the biggest industrial killer of all time, it is also a massive drain on the economy, new research has confirmed. Canadian researchers estimated the lifetime cost of newly diagnosed lung cancer and mesothelioma cases associated with occupational and para-occupational [typically exposed family members] asbestos exposure for the calendar year 2011, including healthcare, productivity and output, and quality of life costs.
Emile Tompa and others. The economic burden of lung cancer and mesothelioma due to occupational and para-occupational asbestos exposure, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published Online First 29 July 2017. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2016-104173 Risks 814. 26 August 2017

Global: The chemicals cover-up
A new report on the history of the collusion between chemical companies and the regulators in the USA over the past hundred years has been published online. Called “The poison papers”, the report shows that both industry and regulators understood the extraordinary toxicity of many chemical products and worked together to conceal this information from the public. There are over 20,000 documents, many of them available for the first time and they show a level of collusion and cover-up that mirrors many of the scandals that have been revealed about the tobacco and drugs industries in recent years.
The poison papers. Risks 811. 5 August 2017

Britain: Safety professionals call for action on diesel
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) which is the professional health and safety officers’ body, has called on the government to reduce worker exposure to cancer-causing diesel particulates. Responding to the UK’s newly published Air Quality Plan, IOSH is encouraging the government to support its No Time to Lose campaign, which aims to tackle the burden of occupational cancer and help to offer solutions to businesses looking to reduce the impact of diesel particulates.
IOSH press release  No time to lose campaign  Unite resources page. Risks 811. 5 August 2017

Britain: Award for union skin cancer prevention push
A union campaign to prevent work-related skin cancer has received a national award. CWU was one of only four organisations recognised for their ‘outstanding’ contribution to the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) ‘No Time To Lose’ occupational cancer prevention initiative, launched 18 months ago.
CWU news release and cancer prevention film. Risks 810. 29 July 2017

Korea: Leukaemia recognised at Samsung LCD factory
Korean authorities have for the first time recognised officially a case of work-related leukaemia resulting from exposures in a Samsung LCD factory. The Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service (COMWEL) ruled that Kim, a 33-year-old worker who was diagnosed with leukaemia after working for five years and seven months in a Samsung Display - formerly Samsung Electronics - LCD factory had contracted the illness in the course of his employment.
The Hankyoreh. Stop Samsung campaign. Cancer Hazards blog. Risks 808. 15 July 2017

Korea: Global union leader supports cancer campaigners
Sharan Burrow, the leader of the global union confederation ITUC has joined a union teach-in in South Korea to mark the 600th day of protest against labour and safety abuses by the electronics multinational Samsung. Since 7 October 2015, the campaign group SHARPS and its supporters have been staging a sit-in at Samsung D’light, the company’s global exhibition space in south Seoul, calling for the world’s largest technology company to compensate its occupational disease victims and provide a “sincere and full” apology.
SHARPS news report. ITUC Samsung’s Secret video and supplier company videos and report. Risks 803. 10 June 2017

Canada: Report exposes mine silica dust danger
Authorities in a province in eastern Canada has said they will implement 11 recommendations of a study that uncovered widespread dust problems affecting mine workers. The report studied the medical information for 636 people, most of them retired, who worked at Labrador’s Wabush Mines or the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) mine.
CBC News and related story. The Aurora. 660 News. Risks 802. 3 June 2017

Ireland: Report queries Air Corps staff safety effort
A leaked internal Air Corps report into staff exposure to the cancer-causing degreaser trichloroethylene over a 27-year period has cast doubt on whether the force did all in its power to protect workers’ health. Six workers are pursuing compensation claims and have seen a toxico-pathologist who concluded their illnesses — including cancer, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and memory loss — were caused by their exposure to harmful chemicals.
Irish Examiner and related story. Risks 802. 3 June 2017

Global: ‘Risk paradox’ means cancer prevention misses out
The cancer research community is giving too much attention to ‘tumour biology’ at the expense of efforts to prevent the tumours in the first place, an editorial in a top UK medical journal has warned. Commenting on the heavily promoted emphasis on ‘precision oncology’, the Lancet Oncology paper concludes: “To eradicate cancer, governments need to both identify and act not only on increased risk susceptibility, but also ensure that people are not exposed to carcinogenic materials through gross environmental mismanagement.”
Editorial: Cancer risk paradox: grand plans fall short?, The Lancet Oncology, volume 18, number 5, page 555, May 2017. ITUC/Hazards work cancer blog. Risks 802. 3 June 2017

Canada: Ontario vows to help ailing factory workers
Ontario will do the “right thing” for factory workers left fighting work-related cancer and other diseases but who have been routinely denied compensation, the province’s labour minister has said. The commitment from Kevin Flynn came in the wake of a 173-page report by General Electric (GE) retirees and the union Unifor documenting working conditions in a GE plant in Peterborough from 1945 to 2000.
Unifor news release and full report. Peterborough Examiner. Toronto Star. Risks 801. 27 May 2017

Britain: Unite takes action against diesel fumes ‘time bomb’
A major new initiative to protect workers from the ‘ticking time bomb’ caused by exposure to diesel exhaust fumes has been launched by Unite. The union’s new diesel emissions register allows Unite members to record when they have been exposed to excessive diesel exhaust fumes.
Unite news release and emissions register. Client Earth news release. Risks 798. 6 May 2017

Global: More evidence links welding fumes to cancer
More priority needs to be given to protecting the world’s estimated 111 million welders and other workers from exposure to toxic welding fumes, according to Harvard University’s David Christiani. The professor of environmental genetics at the university’s TH Chan School of Public Health was among 17 scientists from 10 countries who met last month at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, to review scientific literature and evaluate the carcinogenicity of several welding chemicals to humans.
Harvard University news release. Carcinogenicity of welding, molybdenum trioxide, and indium tin oxide, Lancet Oncology, published online first 10 April 2017.
Health and Safety Executive’s top 10 occupational cancer ‘priorities for prevention’. Risks 797. 29 April 2017

Korea: Samsung’s new phone, old exploitation
Samsung’s new Galaxy 8 smart phone is produced by an exploited and harassed workforce, according to an investigation into the company’s aggressive anti-union employment practices. Global union confederation ITUC found a company-wide policy “uses a combination of bribes, threats, bullying, dismissal and even kidnapping to keep its employees, and people working for its suppliers, under total control.”
ITUC news release and Samsung Exposed campaign. More on Samsung’s safety record. Risks 795. 8 April 2017

Europe: Union ‘victory’ on reproductive and cancer hazards
A key European Parliament committee has backed union calls for tighter rules on reproductive and cancer hazards at work. According to the safety unit on the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), the vote by MEPs was an ‘important victory’ for unions.
European Socialists and Democrats news release. ETUI news report (in French). Risks 790. 4 March 2017

Europe: Industry hijacks official chemical limits process
Experts with industry links dominate a committee advising the European Commission on the occupational exposure limits for hazardous substances, an investigation has found. A report published on 24 February in the French daily newspaper Le Monde revealed that 15 out of the 22 members of the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limit Values (SCOEL) have ties with companies in sectors likely to be affected by the Commission’s plans to adopt new occupational exposure limits (OELs) for certain carcinogens or mutagens at work.
ETUI news report. Le Monde (in French). Risks 790. 4 March 2017

Global: Samsung exposed ahead of industry showcase
The dangerous and abusive employment practices used by hitech giant Samsung have been challenged publicly by the global union confederation ITUC. In a high profile social media campaign ahead of the industry’s showcase Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona from 27 February to 2 March, the union body said: “It’s a modern tech company with medieval labour practices, whose calling cards are union busting, poverty wages, and insecure and unsafe work conditions.”
ITUC ‘Samsung Exposed’ website and call on Samsung to end the abuse of its workforce. Risks 790. 4 March 2017

Europe: Chemicals recognised as human hormone disrupters
A top European Union committee has for the first time recognised chemicals as hormone disrupting for humans. Substances with these endocrine disrupting (EDCs) properties have been linked to cancer, reproductive problems and other health effects.
CHemSec news release. SIN list. Risks 789. 23 February 2017

Global: Cancer is a byproduct of industrial policy
Much of the past effort against cancer has fixated on the wrong enemies, with the wrong weapons, a leading expert has said. said while effort was focus internally on genetic factors, the external influences – what we breathe, drink, eat and absorb through our skin – is being overlooked. Writing in The Hill, US professor Devra Lee Davis said “the great majority of cases of cancer occur in people born with healthy genes as a result of carcinogenic exposures at work, home, and school.”
The Hill. Work Cancer Hazards blog. Risks 789. 23 February 2017

USA: Farm work cancer risk from pesticide spills 
Farmworkers who have a high pesticide exposure event - such as a spill - are more likely to experience molecular changes to their DNA that may lead to prostate and other cancers, according to a large study of pesticide applicators. Environmental Health News reports the research, part of the ongoing US Agricultural Health Study that is monitoring the health of more than 57,000 private and commercial pesticide applicators, adds to growing evidence that high exposure to certain pesticides may spur prostate and other cancers in people handling the chemicals.
Environmental Health News. Work Cancer Hazards blog.
JA Rusiecki and others.  High pesticide exposure events and DNA methylation among pesticide applicators in the agricultural health study, Environmental and Molecular Mutagensis, volume 58, number 1, pages 19-29, January 2017. Risks 789. 23 February 2017

Britain: More than £84m awarded by mesothelioma scheme
More than £84 million in compensation has been awarded to sufferers, or the families of those who have died, as part of the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS), according to official statistics. The scheme, which is for mesothelioma victims who have been prevented from claiming compensation because they cannot trace a liable employer or an employers’ liability insurer, was introduced after a high profile campaign by unions and occupational disease victims’ advocates.
DWP news release. Risks 788. 18 February 2017

USA: Chemical industry emboldened by Trump’s UN pick
The woman chosen by president Donald Trump and now confirmed as the US ambassador to the United Nations has launched a scathing attack on the international body which could embolden an industry lobby angry at the UN’s role in assessing chemical cancer risks. During her confirmation hearing, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said: “When we look at the United Nations, we see a chequered history… any honest assessment finds an institution that is often at odds with the American national interest and American taxpayers.”
American Chemistry Council news release. Work Cancer Hazards blog. The Hill. CNN News.
Neil Pearce, Aaron Blair, Paolo Vineis and others. IARC Monographs: 40 Years of Evaluating Carcinogenic Hazards to Humans, Environmental Health Perspectives, volume 123, issue 6, June 2015. Risk 786. 4 February 2017

Britain: Outdoor work is a deadly skin cancer risk
British workers exposed to the elements account for 2 per cent of cases of the most deadly form of skin cancer, a new study has concluded. Exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun while at work leads to one death and five new cases of malignant melanoma every week, the authors found.
Imperial College London news release. Work Cancer Hazards blog. Daily Mirror.
Lesley Rushton and Sally J Hutchings. The burden of occupationally-related cutaneous malignant melanoma in Britain due to solar radiation, short communication, British Journal of Cancer, advance online publication, 17 January 2017 [abstract]. Risks 785. 28 January 2017

USA: Work with BPA leads to enormous body load
Some workers who make or work with the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) have levels in their bodies 1,000 times higher than the general public, a study by a US government agency has found. The research led by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found, on average, these workers had 70 times more of the chemical in their bodies than the general public, levels well above what has been shown to affect reproduction.
Work Cancer Hazards blog. NIOSH blog. Environmental Health News.
Cynthia J Hines and others. Urinary bisphenol A (BPA) concentrations among workers in industries that manufacture and use BPA in the USA, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 1 January 2017. Risks 783. 14 January 2017

Canada: Asbestos ban hailed as a union victory
In a major victory for Canada’s trade union movement, the country’s federal government has announced a ban on the import, export, manufacture and use of asbestos. Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the global union confederation ITUC, said “we congratulate the Canadian trade union movement for this success, and the government’s move will increase pressure on other countries which still have not implemented a ban.”
ITUC news release. CLC news release. Government of Canada news release. IBAS news release. Risks 782. 7 January 2017

Britain: Unite signs up to voluntary silica dust action pact
Unite has joined industry representatives, academics and safety and health professionals signing up to a voluntary 12-month plan of action to tackle the risks from inhaling silica dust at work. Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is encountered in a wide range of jobs from construction, to mining, ceramics, stone masonry, quarrying, brickmaking and fracking – however the voluntary IOSH-backed pact falls short of a key union demand for a tighter silica exposure standard, backed up by rigorous enforcement.
IOSH news release, Tackling respirable crystalline silica together: a cross industry commitment and No time to lose campaign. ITUC/Hazards Work Cancer Hazards blog. Risks 782. 7 January 2016

Europe: Endocrine disruptors are an occupational risk
A new guide from the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) evaluates research findings on the health consequences of workers being exposed to chemical substances with potentially harmful effects on the endocrine [hormonal] system. The 72-page guide is intended for union representatives and aims “to raise the awareness of union officials and political decision-makers to this largely unrecognised public and workplace health risk.”
Endocrine disruptors: an occupational risk in need of recognition, ETUI, 2016. ETUI publication alert. Risks 781. 17 December 2016.

Global: Cancer all-clear for night work was ‘bad science’
An Oxford University study that concluded the classification of night work as a cause of breast cancer is no longer justified was based on ‘bad science’, top researchers have warned. Johnni Hansen, a researcher with the Danish Cancer Society, told Hazards magazine: “They base their conclusion on a poor study, but even worse is that their conclusion may hinder preventive initiatives for night workers.”
Graveyard shift: Cancer all-clear for night work based on ‘bad science’, warn scientists, Hazards magazine, number 136, December 2016.
Ruth C Travis and others. Night shift work and breast cancer incidence: Three prospective studies and meta-analysis of published studies, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, volume 108, number 12, published online 6 October 2016. Risks 781. 17 December 2016.

Australia: Diesel exhaust linked to lung cancer in miners
Diesel exhaust exposures are causing high rates of fatal lung cancers in underground miners, according to a new study. Researchers found underground miners would have 38 extra lung cancer deaths per 1,000 males; above-ground mine workers were found to face a lower but still elevated risk of about 5.5 additional lung cancer deaths per 1,000 workers.
Susan Peters and others. Estimation of quantitative levels of diesel exhaust exposure and the health impact in the contemporary Australian mining industry, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published online first, 15 November 2016. Work Cancer Hazards blog. Risks 778. 26 November 2016

Britain: Many cancer patients face work discrimination
Almost one-fifth of people (18 per cent) diagnosed with cancer face discrimination from employers or colleagues on return to work, research by the charity Macmillan suggests. The survey of 1,009 patients, all in work when diagnosed, indicated that 15 per cent returned to work before feeling ready.
Macmillan news release. BBC News Online.
Cancer in the workplace: A workbook for union representatives,  second edition, TUC, 2015. TUC guidance on occupational cancer prevention: Occupational Cancer - A Workplace Guide. Risks 776. 12 November 2016.

Britain: IARC scientists defend glyphosate cancer ranking
The World Health Organisation (WHO) agency that labelled the world’s most widely used herbicide a probable cause of cancer in humans has hit back after the agrichemical industry responded with a savage attack on its science and funding. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) panel of scientists made the evaluation on glyphosate, the chief ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup brand, in March last year.
IARC statement. CropLife America statement. Huffington Post.
TUC glyphosate briefing. Risks 776. 12 November 2016.

Europe: Commission challenged over approval for toxin
The European Commission is facing a new legal challenge on its decision to authorise the use in paint of a chemicals that are neurotoxic and carcinogenic. ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), The International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec) and International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), are questioning the legality of a Commission decision that permits Canadian firm Dominion Colour Corporation to supply red and yellow lead chromate pigments in the EU.
ChemSec news release and Request for internal review – lead chromate – official document. Risks 775. 5 November 2016

Britain: Fracking linked to cancer-causing chemicals
Hydraulic fracturing could result in exposures to a wide range of cancer causing substances and many more that have been inadequately tested, a new analysis by Yale School of Public Health has found. The research team, publishing their findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment, said the carcinogenic chemical cocktail used in ‘fracking’ has the potential to contaminate air and water in nearby communities.
Yale School of Public Health news release. Risks 775. 5 November 2016

Britain: Why are preventable breast cancer risks ignored?
Breast Cancer Awareness Month has provided a welcome focus on a condition that has risen sharply over the last 40 years, but campaigners are concerned the government and breast cancer charities are resolutely ignoring the host of preventable occupational and environmental causes of the condition. To address this, campaign group From Pink to Prevention has produced a new ‘toolkit’ with an interactive webpage, posters and an action guide.
Alliance for Cancer Prevention news release. From Pink to Prevention news release and toolkit. Get your MP to sign Early Day Motion 588, Breast cancer and environmental and occupational toxicants. Risks 774. 29 October 2016

Global: Samsung’s medieval practices exposed
The global reach of Samsung’s ruthless pursuit of profits impacts dangerously on the lives of its workers, a new report has charged. ‘Samsung - Modern tech medieval conditions’, published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the global union IndustriALL, reveals how the company’s ‘corporate greed’ is causing problems from cancer to brutal working conditions and job insecurity throughout the multinational’s supply chains.
ITUC news release, report, “Samsung – Modern Tech Medieval conditions”, petition to Samsung and video, Samsung’s Secret. ITUC/Hazards Cancer Hazards website. Risks 771. 8 October 2016

Britain: Union group probes rare brain cancer cluster
The families of five chemical plant workmates who all died of a rare type of brain cancer have said they want answers. The cluster of glioma cases, affecting men who all worked at Staveley Chemicals in Derbyshire, was unearthed by the Chesterfield-based Trade Union Safety Team (TRUST).
Work Cancer Hazards blog. BBC Inside Out. BBC News Online. Derbyshire Times.
Contact TRUST on 01246 380 415 if you can assist its research into the Staveley Chemicals plant. Risks 770. 1 October 2016.

Britain: Firefighters’ guide to occupational cancer prevention
The firefighters’ union FBU says occupational cancer is a ‘serious threat’ for firefighters. In response, the union has produced an initial guidance document which highlights the basic principles to follow to prevent unnecessary contamination with smoke, fumes, chemicals and other hazardous substances before, during and after incidents.
FBU publication notice and initial guidance, Contaminants – protection against cancer. Risks 768. 17 September 2016.

Korea: Samsung lung cancer deaths were ‘occupational’
The lung cancer deaths of two former Samsung Electronics semiconductor factory workers have been accepted as work-related by the Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service (KCOMWEL). The campaign for Samsung victims, SHARPS, said the KCOMWEL ruling meant the Korean authorities now recognise officially eight conditions as occupationally related to semiconductor work: Leukaemia; lymphoma; aplastic anaemia; breast cancer; chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy; brain cancer; ovarian cancer; and lung cancer.
Stop Samsung blog. The Hankyoreh. Equal Times. Risks 767. 10 September 2016

Britain: Asbestos caused fitter’s lung cancer
A Hampshire man has received £110,000 in compensation after developing lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. While studies suggest as many people develop lung cancer caused by asbestos as develop mesothelioma caused by the fibre, compensation settlements for lung cancer are relatively rare as it is common in the general population and less likely to be attributed to work factors.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Portsmouth News. Risks 767. 10 September 2016

USA: Firefighters run high traumatic stress and cancer risks
US firefighters are more at risk for cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the general population, according to union research. The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) report points to research by the Warrior Research Institute in Austin, Texas, that president Harold Schaitberger said in a statement. “New advanced protocols are needed to help prevent PTSD and cancer from taking hold, and more elected officials need to step up and support laws that help firefighters afflicted with these hidden hazards.”
IAFF news release and cancer awareness and prevention resource. Omaha World-Herald. Risks 765. 27 August 2016.

Britain: Records changes threatens compensation
The TUC has expressed concern over proposed changes to the way that company records will be kept on the grounds that it could have a negative effect on compensation claims. Proposals are being considered to reduce the amount of time the records of dissolved companies are retained, from 20 years to just six – but these records are often used to trace companies which have gone out of business, where former employees develop an occupational disease many years after they were exposed.
The GuardianTUC blog. Risks 763. 13 August 2016

China: Benzene cancer victims speak out
Workers employed by Chinese electronics giant Johnson Electric have spoken out after developing blood cancers they say are caused by chemical exposures at work. Three employees or former employees of Huaseng Motor (Guangdong) Limited in Shenzhen, a subsidiary of Johnson Electric, believe they contracted leukaemia due to prolonged exposure to hazardous chemicals including the potent human carcinogen benzene.
HKCTU news report. Risks 762. 6 August 2016

Britain: Mesothelioma stats show need for asbestos action
A single type of asbestos cancer has killed over 2,500 people for three consecutive years, latest official statistics show. The TUC, calling for government action on the release of mortality figures for the cancer mesothelioma, said although most people have probably never heard of mesothelioma the new figures for 2014 show that “for the third year running, the number of deaths from mesothelioma has been over 2,500 and this level is likely to continue for at least the rest of the decade.”
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Mesothelioma in Great Britain: Mesothelioma mortality in Great Britain 1968 to 2014, HSE, July 2016 and HSE mesothelioma webpages. Risks 759. 16 July 2016.

Global: Need to know the latest news on work cancers
Work Cancer Hazards, an occupational cancer website run by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Alliance for Cancer Prevention and Hazards magazine provides news on latest campaigning, research, scandals and compensation developments on what is the biggest workplace killer. The upgraded resource at www.cancerhazards.org now has a facility to sign-up for email updates.
Sign-up for Work Cancer Hazards updates. Risks 758. 9 June 2016

Canada: Unions win work cancer evidence breakthrough
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled 7-1 that workers made ill by hazardous substances at work don’t need to prove their case with scientific certainty in order to collect workers’ compensation. In its judgment in the case brought by three health union members, the Supreme Court ruled: “While the record on which that decision was based did not include confirmatory expert evidence, the Tribunal nonetheless relied upon other evidence which, viewed reasonably, was capable of supporting its finding of a causal link between the workers’ breast cancers and workplace conditions.”
HSA news release. Supreme Court of Canada judgment, 24 June 2016 [pdf]. I-Politics. Risks 757. 2 July 2016

Canada: Asbestos-related cancers cost billions
A first-ever estimate of the toll of asbestos-related cancers on Canadian society pegs the cost of new cases at $1.7-billion (£1bn) per year in Canada, and notes this is probably an under-estimate. The economic burden of lung cancer and mesothelioma from work-related asbestos exposure in Canada amounts to an average of Can$818,000 (£471,000) per case, according to a team led by health economist and senior scientist Dr Emile Tompa at the Toronto-based Institute for Work & Health.
The Globe and Mail. Risks 757. 2 July 2016

Europe: Proposals on endocrine disruptors criticised
Groups advocating for greater control over endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) – a range of common substances linked to cancer, reproductive and other adverse health effects – have said European Commission (EC) proposals “will do nothing to protect human health.” The proposed criteria on EDCs were announced on 16 June by EC Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, after three years of intense debate and industry lobbying which stalled progress.
Alliance for Cancer Prevention statement. EDC Free Europe Coalition statement. ChemSec news release. European Commission proposals, and full communication and related documentation. Risks 756. 25 June 2016

Europe: Glyphosate reauthorisation stalled
Strong mobilisation by a coalition of citizen groups including trade unions has succeeded in temporarily blocking renewed EU authorisation of glyphosate, the world's most widely-used herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup. Food and farming global union IUF said the European Commission and national governments “are manoeuvring between pressure from the agrochemical lobby, organised in the Glyphosate Task Force, and a popular insurgency which shows no signs of going away.”
IUF news release. Risks 755. 18 June 2016

Korea: Malignant lymphoma recognised by government
In what has been described as an ‘unprecedented’ ruling, authorities in South Korea have recognised malignant lymphoma (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) as an occupational disease. The Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service (KCOMWEL) decision on 1 June 2016 approved workers’ compensation to Park Hyo-soon, a former Samsung Electronics Co Ltd employee who died of the blood disorder four years ago. Work cancer hazards blog. SHARPS news report. Risks 754. 11 June 2016.

Europe: New covenant on work cancer prevention
A promise by the Dutch government to take action on occupational cancer during its presidency of the European Council has resulted in a cancer covenant, committing signatories to prevent or reduce exposures to carcinogens. The covenant runs until the end of 2019, and is signed by the Dutch and Austrian governments, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Business Europe, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and the European Commission.
Dutch Focal Point for Safety and Health at Work news release. Commissioner Thyssen’s conference speech. Roadmap on Carcinogens. Introductory video to the Roadmap. ETUC news release. EU-OSHA news release. Risks 753. 4 June 2016

Europe: New covenant on work cancer prevention
A promise by the Dutch government to take action on occupational cancer during its presidency of the European Council has resulted in a cancer covenant, committing signatories to prevent or reduce exposures to carcinogens. The covenant runs until the end of 2019, and is signed by the Dutch and Austrian governments, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Business Europe, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and the European Commission.
Dutch Focal Point for Safety and Health at Work news release. Commissioner Thyssen’s conference speech. Roadmap on Carcinogens. Introductory video to the Roadmap. ETUC news release. EU-OSHA news release. Risks 752. 4 June 2016

Europe: Chrome standard accepts 1-in-10 cancer risk
An Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) from chromium VI proposed by the European Commission has been set at a level it knows will see 1-in-10 exposed at that level develop occupational cancer. The proposed limit of 25 micrograms per cubic metre of air (μg/m3) would “render fatal lung cancer in every tenth worker over a working-life exposure”, said the non-governmental chemical safety group ChemSec.
Cancer hazards blog. ChemSec news release. ECHA chromium VI entry. Risks 752. 28 May 2016

Britain: Time to get rid of asbestos, says TUC
It is time to get rid of asbestos for good, the TUC has said. It has published a new guide for workplace representatives on how to negotiate “to get rid of this killer dust once and for all,” adding “there is a need to ensure that all workplaces have a programme of identifying, managing and safely removing and disposing of all asbestos.”
Asbestos – a time to get rid of it. A guide for workplace union reps. Cancer hazards blog. Risks 752. 28 May 2016

Global: Unions call on EU to halt glyphosate approval
Plantation and farming unions in six African countries - Cameroon, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia - have lent their support to the campaign to halt glyphosate reauthorisation in the European Union. In communications to EU heads of state and the relevant EU authorities, the unions have pointed to the risks from agrochemicals their members confront on a daily basis, often in situations where there is no protective clothing, no proper chemical labelling, no training and no labour inspection.
IUF news release and ban glyphosate campaign. Risks 751. 21 May 2016

Europe: Unions claim ‘cancer victory’ for workers
The European Commission has announced new ‘binding occupational exposure limits’ for 13 cancer-causing substances in a move the Europe-wide union body ETUC has called a ‘cancer victory’ for workers.
ETUC news release. More on the debate about a new silica standard. Risks 750. 14 May 2016

Britain: Sluggish HMRC is hurting work disease victims
People suffering life threatening work-related diseases including occupational cancers are facing potentially disastrous delays of a year to receive their employment records from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), a top law firm has said. Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, who have written to HMRC urging it to speed the system up, say the backlog is denying work disease victims compensation at the time they need it and in some cases resulting in denial of compensation completely.
Irwin Mitchell news release. Risks 750. 14 May 2016

France: Some glyphosate weedkillers to be banned
France's health and safety agency has decided to ban weedkillers that combine the chemicals glyphosate and tallowamine because of concerns over possible health risks. The ANSES agency has sent a letter to manufacturers informing them that it intends to withdraw the authorisation for such products, said Francoise Weber, the watchdog’s deputy director-general.
AgWeek. Sign the IUF/PAN letter to Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety; Donald Tusk, President of the European Council; and Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament. Risks 746. 16 April 2016

Global: Study links many jobs to non-Hodgkin lymphoma
New research has identified a wide range of occupations associated with a risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a group of related cancers affecting the body’s immune system. The study concluded: “This pooled analysis supports a role for textile-, hairdressing-, and farming-related exposures in the development of NHL,” adding: “Additional occupations associated with NHL or NHL subtypes include cleaners, painters, printers, and wood workers.”
Andrea ‘t Mannetje and others. Occupation and risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Its subtypes: A pooled analysis from the InterLymph Consortium, Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2016. ETUI alert. Risks 746. 16 April 2016

Europe: From outrage to action on work cancers
Few realise it, but Europe faces over 100,000 occupational cancer deaths a year, the equivalent of a passenger jet crash every day. Calling on unions to mobilise around the issue, ETUI researcher Laurent Vogel: “We can sum up in four words why 100,000 work-related cancer deaths are not a political priority; inequality, visibility, power and freedom.”
ETUI occupational cancers webpages. The editorial will appear in the forthcoming issue of ETUI’s health and safety magazine, Hesamag. Risks 744. 2 April 2016

Europe: Time to ban glyphosate, says IUF
A move to approve the continued use of the toxic herbicide glyphosate in Europe has become the topic of a high profile tussle involving member states, citizens groups, environmental campaigners and unions. Global food and farming union federation IUF said “additional pressure is needed to ensure that the European Commission does not cut a deal with the corporate agrochemical giants which would keep Europe locked into the deadly spiral of increasing pesticide applications for another fifteen years.”
IUF briefing. ENVI news release. Risks 744. 2 April 2016

Global: On silica, US does what HSE says can’t be done
The US government has gone where the UK had refused to go, introducing new rules to sharply reduce workplace exposures to silica. The 24 March 2016 move by the US Labor Department means the US will halve the occupational exposure standard from the level it currently shares with the UK, 0.1mg/m3, to 0.05mg/m3 - HSE has argued the lower level now being introduced in the US is neither achievable nor practically measurable, issues raised in extensive US government hearings on the draft standard and dismissed comprehensively over two years ago.
Department of Labor news release and US final silica rule website. Finalised rule on the Federal Register. National COSH statement. APHA statement. NELP statement. Public Citizen news r

Europe: Unions call for an end to work cancers
Unions are warning that occupational cancer kills 100,000 people every year in the European Union (EU) and are calling for an end to this preventable waste of life. Europe-wide union federation ETUC says occupational cancer is the most common work-related cause of death, with between 8 and 16 per cent of all cancers in Europe the result of exposures at work.
ETUC news release. ETUI news report and publication alert.
Carcinogens that should be subject to binding limits on workers’ exposure, ETUI report no.136, March 2016. Stop cancer at work infographic. Risks 743. 19 March 2016

USA: How to bury occupational brain cancers
A chemical giant responded to unexpectedly high numbers of brain tumours at one of its US plants by launching a flawed study to obscure the extent of the problem, the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) has found. The CPI investigation, the latest in its ‘Science for sale’ series, examined the cancer cluster affected workers at the sprawling Union Carbide plant in Texas City but found the company’s researchers counted only one of the 23 brain tumour deaths at the plant in an influential study.
CPI investigative report. Work Cancer Hazards blog. Risks 739. 20 February 2016.

Korea: Samsung job caused ovarian cancer
A South Korean court has ruled that exposure to carcinogens at a Samsung semiconductor factory caused a worker’s ovarian cancer. The Seoul Administrative Court said it saw a “significant causal relationship” between the disease and even a low level of toxic chemicals because the worker Lee Eun-joo was exposed to carcinogens over a long period.
ABC News. Daily Mail. CNBC News. New York Times. Risks 737. 6 February 2016

Canada: Union calls for national asbestos registry and ban
A Canadian union leader has called for a national registry of the location of asbestos materials. The call from Philip Venoit, president of Vancouver Island Building and Construction Trades Council, came after latest figures from Statistics Canada revealed new cases of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma had doubled across the country, from 276 cases in 1992 to 560 cases in 2012.
Work cancer hazards blog. Risks 736. 20 January 2016.

Europe: Unions push for better laws on work cancers
Unions are to work throughout the Dutch Presidency of the European Union to develop a preventive approach to occupational cancer. During this presidency, which runs from January to June, the Dutch government has expressed a desire to update the EU Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive, a longstanding union objective.
Work cancer hazards blog. Why we need to focus on work-related cancer, ETUC, January 2016. Risks 736. 20 January 2016.

Japan: Cancer victims press for justice and prevention
Two of five workers who developed bladder cancer while working at a chemical factory manufacturing dyes and pigments are demanding that the Japanese government recognise their illness as job-related. Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, the pair called on their employer - Tokyo-based Mitsuboshi Chemical - to make urgent improvements in conditions at the plant in Fukui Prefecture.
Japan Times. Work cancer hazards blog. Risks 736. 20 January 2016.

USA: GE workers fear PCB health effects after job loss
Workers set to lose their jobs at a General Electric plant in the US fear serious diseases linked to their exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) could hit them later in life. The union representing the workers at the GE Fort Edward plant is citing concerns over exposure to toxic PCBs – used in manufacture of capacitors at the plant - in pressing the company to pay for health testing after workers lose their jobs.
Work cancer hazards blog. Risks 736. 20 January 2016.

Britain: POA to seek judicial review on smoking in prisons
The prison officers’ union POA has told the prison service it is seeking a Judicial Review on the continuing risks posed by smoking in prisons. A phased move to smoke-free prisons was announced by the government in September last year, but POA says contact with Treasury solicitors since then has led the union to doubt “that a smoking ban will ever be implemented to protect the health and safety of both staff and prisoners from the damaging effects of second hand smoke.”
POA statement. Risks 736. 20 January 2016.

Canada: Lung cancer added to firefighter scheme
Firefighters and fire investigators in Ontario, Canada, no longer have to prove their lung cancer is work-related to claim workers’ compensation. From 1 January 2016 the condition has been added to a list of cancers presumed to be work-related for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits.
CBC News. Risks 734. 16 January 2016

Britain: Bad exposures not bad luck causes cancers
Workplace, environmental and other ‘extrinsic’ exposures cause of up to 90 per cent of cancers, researchers have concluded. The study by a team at Stony Brook University in the US was prompted by a heavily criticised paper in the journal Science which in January 2015 claimed ‘bad luck’ was behind most cancers.
Stony Brook University news release. Scientific American. BBC News Online.
Song Wo, Scott Powers, Wei Zhu and Yusuf A Hannun. Substantial contribution of extrinsic risk factors to cancer development, Nature, published online 16 December 2015. Risks 733. 9 January 2016

Korea: SK Hynix agrees to compensate electronics workers
Korean electronics firm SK Hynix has agreed to provide compensation to current and former semiconductor factory workers, and even those of its subcontractors, who may be suffering from a range of occupational diseases including cancer. The company said it would accept “immediately” the recommendation of an industrial and public health review committee that conducted a year-long inspection of Hynix semiconductor workplaces.
Cancerhazards.org. Risks 731. 5 December 2015

 Korea: Angry Samsung victims throw a ‘Sam Ba’ party 
Korean campaigners rallied at Samsung’s corporate headquarters in south Seoul to call on the company to re-establish an arbitration process with occupational disease victims. Campaign group SHARPS and individuals who say they were harmed working in Samsung’s electronics factories held the 13 November ‘Sam Ba’ party outside the company HQ 
SHARPS news report. Risks 729. 21 November 2015

France: Pesticides blamed for cancer ‘homicide’
The French wine industry’s attachment to routine pesticide use is coming under increased scrutiny over concerns about its health impacts. In June this year, the French criminal court launched the unprecedented inquiry into a lung cancer victim’s “involuntary homicide”, officially recognised as being linked to his profession in 2011.
The Guardian. Earlier coverage in The Telegraph. CBC News. Risks 727. 7 November 2015

Europe: Nothing doing on worker health
Workplace health initiatives including planned Europe-wide rules to reduce the toll of occupational cancer are to stay shelved, latest documentation from the European Commission has confirmed. The TUC berated the Commission’s decision only to “review” the occupational health and safety situation.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. No time for business as usual, Commission work programme 2016, October 2015. Risks 727. 7 November 2015

Japan: Fukushima worker to get radiation cancer payout
The authorities in Japan have acknowledged that a worker involved in clean-up work at the Fukushima nuclear plant may have developed cancer as a result. Officials say the man will be entitled to compensation for work-related leukaemia, in the first cancer case linked to the Fukushima plant meltdown.
ABC News. CNN News. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.

Global: Eliminating occupational cancer in Europe and globally
A new working paper from the European trade union research body ETUI presents arguments for a stronger policy to eradicate occupational cancer in Europe and globally. The working paper present a new estimation the burden of occupational cancer, noting the condition is responsible for 666,000 deaths worldwide, 102,500 of these in the EU alone and with the UK figure is put at 13,330 occupational cancer deaths a year, over 66 per cent higher than the Health and Safety Executive’s estimate.
ETUI publication alert. Jukka Takala, Eliminating occupational cancer in Europe and globally, ETUI, 2015. OSHwiki. Risks 723. 10 October 2015

Britain: TUC guidance for supporting staff with cancer
To coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which runs through October, the TUC has issued a second edition of its guidance for union representatives, employees, line managers and employers for how best to support colleagues with cancer at work. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There is enormous scope for union reps to ensure employers support their staff effectively, and everyone should be in a trade union to get their voice heard and their interests represented at work.”
Publication alert and full report: Cancer in the workplace: A workbook for union representatives. TUC guidance on occupational cancer prevention: Occupational Cancer - A Workplace Guide. Risks 722. 3 October 2015

Europe: Shocking new estimate of the asbestos death toll
Over 47,000 people in the European Union are dying of asbestos related conditions each year with the UK topping the fatalities list, a new report has concluded. ‘Eliminating occupational cancer in Europe’, published by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), puts deaths caused by exposure to asbestos at three times previous estimates.
IBAS news release. Eliminating occupational cancer in Europe, ETUI, 29 September 2015. ETUI asbestos webpages. Risks 722. 3 October 2015

Europe: EC refuses access to glyphosate assessment
The European Commission has refused to make available the risk assessment report on glyphosate prepared for the European Food Safety Authority. Global food and farming union federation IUF said: “The Commission's ongoing refusal to make available its risk assessment data violates a 2013 ruling by the European Court of Justice requiring public disclosure.”
IUF news report. Risks 719. 12 September 2015

Global: Samsung pressed on cancers foundation
A broad group of civil society organisations from Asia, Europe, Africa, North America and South America is urging Korean electronics giant Samsung to deliver justice to those harmed by chemical exposures in its factories. The letter to Kwon oh hyun, CEO of Samsung Electronics, says Samsung should abide by the recent recommendations of a high profile mediation committee and fund an independent non-profit foundation and resolve all outstanding issues arising from the cluster of occupational diseases such as leukaemia and lymphoma among
IndustriALL news release. Support and endorse the open letter. Good Electronics news release. Korea IT Times. Risks 718. 5 September 2015

Global: New report exposes raised cancer risk for women
UK union federation the TUC has called for urgent action on occupational exposure to breast cancer in women following new research by the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Fund. The report, ‘Working Women and Breast Cancer: The State of the Evidence,’ is the product of more than two years of work overseen and is a review of most of the scientific studies that have been published in the past 25 years and found a link between breast cancer and a number of workplace exposures including solvents, pesticides, ionising radiation and other toxic materials.
Breast Cancer Fund news release. Stronger Unions blog. Risks 715. 15 August 2015.

Europe: EC blamed for 100,000 work cancers each year
The European Commission’s drive to simplify legislation for businesses has come under fire from trade unions for blocking EU laws that could save thousands of lives per year. Laurent Vogel, a senior researcher at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), said that more than 100,000 workers were dying from work-related cancers each year, and blamed the European Commission for inaction.
Euractiv news report. Risks 711. 18 July 2015

Global: Cancer study casts doubt on chemical standards
Chemical exposure standards “should be revisited” because low level exposures to a mix of substances which individually might be harmless can together present a cancer risk, a major study has concluded. The Halifax Project, a high-profile taskforce formed in 2013 by the international organisation Getting to Know Cancer, involved 174 scientists in 28 countries and investigated 85 chemicals that were not considered to be carcinogenic to humans.
William H Goodson III and others. Assessing the carcinogenic potential of low-dose exposures to chemical mixtures in the environment: the challenge ahead, Carcinogenesis, volume 36, Supplement 1, pages S254-S296, 2015. Cancerhazards.org. Risks 709. 4 July 2015

Britain: Breast cancer charity urged to recognise risks
A newly merged breast cancer charity has been urged to acknowledge the environmental and occupational links to breast cancer and to back calls for prevention. An open letter signed by concerned organisations and scientists expresses the hope that the merger between Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the Breast Cancer Campaign will prompt “progressive changes to breast cancer prevention policies.”
From Pink to Prevention news release. Cancerhazards.org. Risks 709. 4 July 2015

Global: Ionising radiation cancer risk at low exposures
Prolonged exposure to low doses of ionising radiation can cause cancer in nuclear workers, a study has found. Research coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which looked at the exposures of over 300,000 nuclear workers in the UK, France and the US, found that protracted exposure to low doses of ionising radiation can cause the blood cancer leukaemia.
IARC news release. ITUC/Hazards cancer hazards website.
Klervi Leuraud and others. Ionising radiation and risk of death from leukaemia and lymphoma in radiation-monitored workers (INWORKS): an international cohort study, The Lancet Haematology, published online 21 June 2015. Risks 708. 27 June 2015

Britain: Review links pesticides to cancer
Three pesticides that have been heavily used in both agricultural and non-agricultural applications have been linked to cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluated the carcinogenicity of the insecticides lindane and DDT and the herbicide 2,4-D.
IARC news release. Dana Loomis and others. Carcinogenicity of lindane, DDT, and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, The Lancet Oncology, published online 22 June 2015. Risks 708. 27 June 2015

Britain: Son fights for justice after dad’s clay cancer death
The son of a former clay dryer is appealing to his late father’s former colleagues in St Austell, Cornwall for information on the working conditions he endured. An inquest into the death of Walter Patton, 83, found that he died in February 2013 of bronchial pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer related to his employment.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release. Anyone with information on the working conditions at English Clays Lovering Pochin & Company or ECC International Limited/Imerys Minerals Limited should contact Alex Shorey on 0121 214 5493 or email Alex.Shorey@IrwinMitchell.com Risks 706. 13 June 2015

USA: ‘Silent epidemic’ linked to work chemicals
Workplace chemical exposures are the eighth leading cause of death in the US, but the country lacks any prevention strategy, an advocacy group has warned. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) said these exposures are responsible for more than 40,000 premature deaths each year.
PEER news release and Worker right-to-know chemical exposure database. Risks 705. 6 June 2015

Global: Low level solvent exposure linked to breast cancer
Women exposed to low levels of common organic solvents at work are 20 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer, a new study suggests. The authors say the study suggests that there may be an association between occupational exposure to aliphatic and aromatic solvents and the risk of breast cancer at the low levels of exposure experienced by women in their study.
DC Glass, J Heyworth, AK Thomson, S Peters C Saunders and L Fritschi. Occupational exposure to solvents and risk of breast cancer, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, published online ahead of print, 26 May 2015. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22478. Risks 705. 6 June 2015

Australia: Most work cancers go uncompensated
Less than 10 per cent of people diagnosed with occupational cancer in Australia get any compensation, a report has revealed. ‘Occupational Cancer Costs’, a new review of workers’ compensation claims undertaken by Cancer Council Australia, found an average of 395 claims a year were made nationwide for work-related cancers, resulting in payouts of Aus$30 million (£15m), but that was a fraction of those who could possibly apply.
Cancer Care Australia news release and report, Occupational Cancer Costs.
The Conversation. The West Australian. Risks 703. 23 May 2015

Britain: Road workers get UV beads as skin cancer risk alert
Road workers at highways specialist A-one+ are being handed strings of UV reactive beads to highlight sun exposure risks over the summer months. The solar beads are to be worn by road workers while working in the outdoors and change colour to warn of increased UV light levels; water bottles, sunscreen, fact sheets and posters are also being distributed to staff to raise awareness across the organisation.
Construction Enquirer. Risks 703. 23 May 2015

Britain: TUC calls for action on glyphosate
The TUC is calling for union safety reps to ensure workers are not exposed to a cancer-causing pesticide. A new briefing says because of the unquestionable risks posed by glyphosate, which can also cause short- and long-term skin, eye and respiratory problems and serious liver and kidney damage, it is “necessary to try to prevent any workers coming into contact with glyphosate.”
TUC glyphosate briefing. ACP news report. Risks 703. 23 May 2015

Britain: Paper mill worker gets recurring nasal cancer
A man cured of a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to wood dust at work has been compensated – and can go back to the courts if the cancer returns. The 63-year-old, whose name has not been released, was diagnosed with nasal cancer in August 2010 after being exposed to wood dust while working at a Stora Enso Newton Kyme Limited paper and wood mill from 1973 until 2002.
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release. Risks 702. 16 May 2015.

Britain: UN warning on asbestos risk in Europe
One in three people in Europe are at risk from asbestos exposures, with the deadly fibre claiming thousands of lives each year, a United Nations (UN) report has warned. A high-level meeting on environment and health in Europe on 30 April ended with an urgent appeal to all European countries to eliminate asbestos-related diseases.
WHO Europe news release and mesothelioma costs table. United Nations news release. WHO guidelines on elimination of asbestos related diseases. Cancerhazards.org. Risks 701. 9 May 2015

Global: Roundup, WHO and the pesticide lobby
The food system must be ‘transformed’ to keep deadly pesticides out of the workplace and the food chain, the global farm and food union federation IUF has said. The union body was speaking out in the wake of a March 2015 report in the journal Lancet Oncology, which revealed the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) new classification of glyphosate - the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup and the world's most widely-used herbicide - as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
IUF report. The Lancet Oncology. Risks 700. 2 May 2015

Taiwan: Workers win RCA cancers case after 15 years
The owners of a Taiwan-based electronics firm have been ordered to pay millions in compensation to workers who developed liver, lung and other cancers after working on its production lines. On 17 April, a Taiwan district court ordered the parent firms of Radio Corporation of America (RCA) to pay US$18 million in damages to the former workers and their families, who the court heard were the victims of worst work-related health scandal in the country’s history.
China Post. Taipei Times. Taiwan News. GoodElectronics. Risks 699. 25 April 2015

Europe: Action call on workplace cancer risks
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has condemned the European Commission for delaying since October 2013 the adoption of legally binding exposure limits for chemicals that cause cancer and other serious health effects because it is conducting a review of ‘red tape’. The union body says this means that 150,000 have died while EC evaluates ‘better regulation’.
ETUC 28 April webpages and priority list of 50 of the most harmful chemicals. Risks 699. 25 April 2015

Global: If you expose us, we’ll expose you
Imagine a killer that strikes more than once every minute and that most of these deaths could be stopped with minimal effort, but preventive measures are being blocked. Well, warns International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) general secretary Sharan Burrow, that killer is occupational cancer and she asserts: “We make this pledge - if they expose us, we will expose them.”
ITUC article and ‘Toxic work – stop deadly exposures today’ guide. Annotated occupational cancer bibliography. ITUC/Hazards International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April webpages. Risks 699. 25 April 2015

Korea: Samsung’s payouts plan excludes most
A compensation scheme for people harmed by toxic exposures while working for Samsung places so many restrictions on eligibility that barely three in every 10 affected workers will receive anything. An analysis by Hankyoreh21 magazine found only 14 of 163 cases (8.5 per cent) examined definitely fell within the scope of the scheme. SHARPS reportRisks 69711 April 2015

Europe: Action on work cancers is decades overdue
More protective laws, effective enforcement and unrelenting union action are needed to address Europe’s ‘immense’ occupational cancer problem, a top safety researcher has warned. Laurent Vogel from the Brussels-based trade union research body ETUI points to research showing that cancers induced by working conditions kill over 100,000 people in the European Union each year.
TUC Stronger Unions blog and TUC 28 April 2015 webpages and events listing and ‘Stop the tears’ poster. This and a ‘Hell no!” ITUC/Hazards poster can be ordered from free of charge from Hazards Campaign, which can also provide purple ribbons for £30 per 100. Email or phone 0161 636 7557. ITUC/Hazards global 28 April webpages Risks 695. 21 March 2015

Spain: Asbestos cancers not recorded or compensated
Almost all asbestos cancers are being missed by Spain’s official reporting system, a study has found, raising concerns that frequently terminally ill workers are also missing out on compensation. A team headed by Alfredo Menéndez-Navarro of the University of Granada estimate 93.6 per cent of cases of mesothelioma in men and 99.7 per cent in women are missing; for asbestos related lung cancers, the effect is worse still, with 98.8 per cent of bronchial and lung cancers in men and 100 per cent in women going unrecognised.
García-Gómez M, Menéndez-Navarro A, López RC. Asbestos-related occupational cancers compensated under the Spanish National Insurance System, 1978-2011, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health (IJOEH), volume 21, number 1, pages 31-39, January-March 2015. Eurogip. Risks 693. 7 March 2015

Britain: Don’t neglect work causes of cancer
There must be a far greater acknowledgement of the role of work in causing cancers, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection (BOHS) has warned. Commenting on World Cancer Day - 4 February -  BOHS said that neglecting to understand and control occupational exposures to carcinogens, by means of highly effective occupational hygiene solutions, threatens future progress in the battle against the disease.
BOHS news release. World Cancer Day. Global unions zero cancer campaign. Risks 690. 14 February 2015

Australia: Study confirms firefighter cancer risk
Firefighters who worked at a training facility in the Australian state of Victoria have a higher incidence of skin, testicular and brain cancers, a comprehensive study has found. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews told reporters the research confirmed “beyond any reasonable doubt” that there was a statistically significant increase in cancers in firefighters who worked at the Country Fire Authority’s (CFA) Fiskville site.
Monash University news release and full report. UFU Victoria notice and news release. Victorian Premier Andrew Daniels’ news release. ABC News. The Age. The Guardian. Risks 688. 31 January 2015

Europe: Debate about work cancer links hots up
A union thinktank has welcomed a call for more research and action on the prevention of work-related breast cancer, and has criticised a study that suggested bad luck was the major factor in cancer causation. The European trade union research institute (ETUI), which has its own health and safety unit, was commenting after the publication of two contrasting reports.
ETUI news report. Stirling University news release. Risks 687. 24 January 2015

USA: Public health body wants breast cancer prevention
An American Public Health Association (APHA) policy statement on ‘Breast Cancer and Occupation: The Need for Action’ is thought to be the first such call by a major public health body on breast cancer and the risks faced by women due to the hazards in the work environment. The policy statement says “gender and social class bias” could explain the lack of research and preventive efforts on occupational breast cancer.
Breast Cancer and Occupation: The Need for Action, APHA, posted online January 2015. Risks 686. 17 January 2015

Global: Cancer agency slams cancer ‘bad luck’ paper
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has said it “strongly disagrees” with the conclusion of a scientific report  that concluded cancer was largely down to ‘bad luck’. IARC, the World Health Organisation’s specialised cancer agency, said the study, published in the journal Science on 2 January, had “limitations and biases in the analysis” and there was a “serious contradiction” between the widely reported paper’s conclusion and the extensive body of scientific evidence on cancer causation.
IARC statement, 15 January 2015. Risks 686. 17 January 2015

Canada: More evidence on wood dust and lung cancer
People with substantial exposure to wood dust at work have a greatly increased risk of lung cancer, a study has found. The paper published in January 2015 in the journal Environmental Health concludes there was “evidence of increased risk of lung cancer among workers with substantial cumulative exposure to wood dust.”
Eric Vallières, Javier Pintos, Marie-Elise Parent and Jack Siemiatycki. Occupational exposure to wood dust and risk of lung cancer in two population-based case-control studies in Montreal, Canada,  Environmental Health, volume 14, number 1, 7 January 2015. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-14-1. Risks 686. 17 January 2015

Finland: Crude oil exposure linked to kidney cancer
A study of refinery workers has found exposure to crude oil may lead to a marked increase in kidney cancer risk. Researchers looked at cancer patterns in 9,454 workers employed in the oil refinery industry in Finland in the period 1967 to 1982 and found there was a threefold increase in the kidney cancer risk for exposure to hydrocarbons in crude oil.
Ahti Anttila and others. Kidney cancer risk in oil refining in Finland: a nested case-referent study, Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, volume 57, issue 1, pages 68–72, January 2015. Risks 686. 17 January 2015

Britain: Plans for NHS in Scotland to recoup asbestos costs
Plans for the health service in Scotland to recoup the cost of medical treatment from companies that exposed workers to asbestos have gone out to consultation. A bill lodged at the Scottish parliament by Stuart McMillan would introduce legislation to ensure that the NHS can claw back the money spent caring for people who have contracted conditions such as mesothelioma.
Stuart McMillan MSP blog. The Herald. Risks 686. 17 January 2015

Europe: Political backing for cancer rules review
One of the final acts of the Italian presidency of the European Union, which ended on 31 December 2014, was to host a conference on future health and safety at work policy. The event on 4-5 December 2014 heard Laurent Vogel, a researcher with the European trade union research organisation ETUI, call for the Europe-wide directive on carcinogens and mutagens in the workplace to be overhauled. 
ETUI news report and Laurent Vogel’s presentation: The point of view of the European trade unions: It is urgent to revitalise the EU occupational health and safety policy. Risks 685. 10 January 2015

Global: Cancer blame industry absolves industry’s real culprits
Bad genes, bad luck and bad habits are frequently blamed for cancers, but stronger evidence of the occupational and environmental origins of our cancers is much more likely to be disputed or dismissed. A December 2014 paper in journal Science, concluded two-thirds of the cancer types analysed were linked to chance mutations.
Cristian Tomasetti and Bert Vogelstein. Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions, Science, volume 347, number 6217, pages 78-81, 2 January 2015.
Lifestyle behind more than half a million cancers in five years, CRUK news release, 26 December 2014.
Ted Schettler. Cancer, stem cells and bad luck, critical online commentary from the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, 6 January 2015.
Silent Spring commentary. BBC News Online on the ‘bad luck’ and ‘lifestyle’ cancer stories.
Risks 685. 10 January 2015

USA: Cancer deceit of the petrochemical giants exposed
The petroleum industry has known for decades that benzene, one of its most important products, is a potent cause of cancer in humans but has spent millions on a cover-up, a new evidence database reveals. Internal memorandums, emails, letters and meeting minutes obtained by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) in a year-long investigation suggest that America’s oil and chemical titans, coordinated by their trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, spent at least $36 million on research “designed to protect member company interests,” as one 2000 API summary put it.
Benzene and worker cancers: 'An American tragedy'Exposed: Decades of denial on poisons, evidence database compiled by the Center for Public Integrity, Columbia University and City University of New York. The ‘dirty dozen’ documents from the databaseRisks 68413 December 2014

Europe: Union action call on work safety
The European Union must take action to stop the 100,000 deaths a year caused by occupational cancers, unions have said. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) also condemned the European Commission for blocking health and safety improvements and for putting forward an extremely weak health and safety strategy to run until 2020.
ETUC news release and health and safety resolutionRisks 68413 December 2014

USA: Study finds cancer chemicals at fracking sites
Tests of air around homes near natural gas drilling wells and other production equipment in five US states have found sometimes grossly elevated levels of chemicals linked to cancer. The results of the study, published in the journal Environmental Health, noted: “Benzene, formaldehyde, and hydrogen sulphide were the most common compounds to exceed acute and other health-based risk levels.”
Gregg Macey, David Carpenter and others. Air concentrations of volatile compounds near oil and gas production: a community-based exploratory study, Environmental Health, volume 13:82, 2014. Times UnionRisks 68015 November 2014

Britain: IOSH takes up the work cancers cause
Safety officers’ organisation IOSH has taken up the occupational cancer cause. IOSH said its ‘No time to lose’ campaign launch “kick-started an unprecedented drive, led by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), to cut the number of deaths from work-related cancer and raise awareness about the risks.”
IOSH news release and No time to lose campaign • The TUC and global unions occupational cancer prevention campaigns • Risks 6798 November 2014

Britain: Asbestos caused market trader’s lung cancer
Former market trader Alan Tattersall died from asbestos related lung cancer, an inquest heard. Burnley Coroners Court heard the former Burnley FC, Preston North End and Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper later worked as a plumber and came into contact with asbestos during his work.
Rossendale Free PressRisks 6798 November 2014

Britain: IOSH takes up the work cancers cause
Safety officers’ organisation IOSH has taken up the occupational cancer cause. IOSH said its ‘No time to lose’ campaign launch “kick-started an unprecedented drive, led by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), to cut the number of deaths from work-related cancer and raise awareness about the risks.”
IOSH news release and No time to lose campaign • The TUC and global unions occupational cancer prevention campaigns • Risks 6798 November 2014

Britain: Asbestos caused market trader’s lung cancer
Former market trader Alan Tattersall died from asbestos related lung cancer, an inquest heard. Burnley Coroners Court heard the former Burnley FC, Preston North End and Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper later worked as a plumber and came into contact with asbestos during his work.
Rossendale Free PressRisks 6798 November 2014

Britain: Vet workers were exposed to harmful drugs
A Bedfordshire veterinary firm has been fined after workers were potentially exposed over a four year period to animal chemotherapy drugs that can cause cancer and birth defects. Employees of Davies Veterinary Specialists Limited, including vets, nurses and support staff, could have been exposed to the drugs as they prepared medicines to treat animals with cancer at the firm’s premises in Higham Gobion, Bedfordshire.
HSE news releaseRisks 6781 November 2014

Britain: GPs ‘missing opportunities’ to spot lung cancer
Doctors in Britain are “missing opportunities” to spot lung cancer at an early stage, meaning one in three people with the disease dies within 90 days of diagnosis, a study has found. The findings have major implications for occupational health, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimating around 15 per cent of all lung cancer deaths are related to occupation, or around 5,000 deaths a year – where cases are diagnosed late or after death, the link to work will be more likely to be overlooked.
Thorax news releaseBBC News OnlineHSE figures on occupational lung cancer.
Emma L O’Dowd and others. What characteristics of primary care and patients are associated with early death in patients with lung cancer in the UK?, Thorax, Published Online First, 13 October 2014 • Risks 67618 October 2014

Britain: Asbestos campaign welcome ‘but four years late’
Construction union UCATT have welcomed a new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) asbestos awareness campaign but has warned that workers have been denied effective advice for over four years due to government “penny-pinching”. UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy said the government’s bar on campaigns – the Hidden Killer campaign was on the blocks and ready to go when David Cameron came to power in 2010 – “means that for the last four and a half years, thousands of workers have been needlessly exposed to asbestos and their health put at risk.”
UCATT news releaseHSE news release and beware asbestos webpage and appRisks 67618 October 2014

Australia: Welder gets landmark cancer payout
A landmark court decision to award compensation to a man whose lung cancer was linked to inhaling toxic welding fumes establishes a series of crucial precedents, Australian manufacturing union AMWU has said. AMWU health and safety experts said the Victorian County Court decision was an Australian first and recognised that light smoker Anh Tran’s risk of contracting lung cancer had been raised by working in a small welding shop in south-east Melbourne.
AMWU news releaseRisks 67511 October 2014

China: Apple iPhone worker dies of cancer
A young Chinese worker struck down with leukaemia while working in a factory that makes Apple’s iPhones has died – days after his mother pleaded in a UK newspaper for Apple chief executive Tim Cook to help save her son’s life. The Mail on Sunday says Yi Long is at least the sixth worker to die of leukaemia after falling ill at the factory complex in Shenzhen, southern China, in a cluster of cases families believe were caused by the chemicals handled by workers.
The Mail on Sunday and earlier related storyRisks 6744 October 2014

Britain: Construction workers at risk of skin cancer
Construction union UCATT is warning that construction workers are at particular risk of developing skin cancer. The union alert came after new figures published by Public Health England (PHE) revealed the number of hospital admissions for skin cancer have increased by 41 per cent in just five years.
UCATT news release and work in the sun guideBBC News OnlineRisks 6707 September 2014

Britain: Probe into worker’s radiation exposure
An investigation has been launched after a radiographer at the Faslane naval base in Scotland was exposed to radiation. The incident happened in June, but was only revealed in a report this month by the UK government's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).
Sunday HeraldRisks 66823 August 2014

Australia: Solvents exposure linked to brain cancer in your kids
Brain tumours in children have been linked to exposure of either parent to workplace solvents. The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, found a link between parents' exposure to chemicals such as benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene and brain tumours in their children.
Susan Peters and others. Childhood brain tumours: associations with parental occupational exposure to solvents, British Journal of Cancer, published online. doi:10.1038/bjc.2014.358 • ABC Science NewsRisks 6669 August 2014

USA: Over 2,500 Ground Zero rescuers have cancer
A growing number of Ground Zero first responders and rescuers are seeking compensation for their illnesses, and more than 2,500 of them have contracted cancer. That toll has climbed from the 1,140 cancer cases reported last year, according to the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital.
New York PostDaily MailNewsmaxTelegraphWorld Trade Center Health ProgramRisks 6652 August 2014

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 Straif 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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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. These deaths are not just statistics, they are stories of pain, hardship and bereavement.

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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.