Previous studies have suggested that painters may be at a higher risk for lung cancer. However the evidence has come mainly from analyses based on the job title of painter rather than from looking at the specific substances painters are exposed to.
A new study carried out by Ramanakumar AV et al. assessed the possible relationship between Lung Cancer and exposure by painters to paints, varnishes and stains. The results suggest that exposure to coatings for wood, plaster or gypsum may carry excess risk for lung cancer but results for metal coatings were more equivocal. The evidence of a Lung Cancer risk was stronger for solvent based coatings than for water based coatings.
The writers admitted that their results cannot exclude the possibility of the results being “confounded” by smoking or exposure to other substances. Nevertheless they provide further evidence that some exposures in paint related occupations, notably wood varnishes and stains, increased the risk of lung cancer.
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