A population-based case-control study of occupational exposure to acids and the risk of lung cancer: evidence for specificity of association.
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Occupational exposure to strong inorganic acid mists containing sulfuric acid has been recognized as a carcinogen (Group 1) since 1992. An augmented, secondary data analysis of a population-based case-control study of lung cancer was conducted to assess lung cancer-specific risks using 772 lung cancer cases diagnosed between 1981 and 1985. Individually matched controls--on age, gender, and borough of residence--were identified. Lifetime exposure to 10 acidic agents, including strong inorganic acids and some gases, was assessed from complete lifetime occupational histories in terms of concentration, frequency, and reliability of the various exposure assessments. Smoking-adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were determined for overall and histology-categorized lung cancers using conditional logistic regression. No excess risk for overall lung cancer was associated with any of the acids, and effect modification by gender could not be identified. The absence of an acid lung cancer effect reinforces more recent toxicological data that suggest specificity to the larynx.