Lung Cancer Risk Among Workers in Poultry Slaughtering and Processing Plants: A Pilot Study




Preacely, Nykiconia D.


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Preacely, Nykiconia D., Lung Cancer Risk Among Workers in Poultry Slaughtering and Processing Plants: A Pilot Study. Doctor of Public Health (Epidemiology), May 2008, 104 pp., 21 tables, 4 figures, bibliography, 50 titles. Poultry workers are at a great risk of exposure to potentially harmful transmissible agents which can cause cancer in poultry; yet there are few epidemiological studies that examine the association of occupation and illnesses experienced by these workers. Workers in poultry slaughtering and processing plants are well suited to investigate the effects of exposure to poultry oncogenic agents because they have one of the highest human exposure to carcinogenic chemicals formed during the packaging and preparation of poultry. The preparations of poultry via smoking, and frying are additional exposures that release carcinogens which may be involved in lung cancer risk among poultry workers. Union records from several unions belonging to the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union for the years 1949-1989 were used to identify a cohort of workers once employed in poultry slaughtering and processing plants. The current research investigated whether certain occupational exposures were associated with lung cancer mortality among these workers. The research employed a case cohort design that provided individual level occupational and lifestyle data for workers who died with lung cancer between 1990 and 2003 compared to a sub-cohort of individuals randomly sampled from the entire cohort. It is anticipated that by identifying potentially harmful exposures in this industry, future research may focus on developing methods to alleviate them among poultry workers. The results of this study will provide public health professionals and the poultry industry with new information on the occupational exposures not previously explored in relation to lung cancer mortality among poultry slaughtering/processing plant workers.