Een cohort van 726 vuurtorenwachters dat in de periode vanaf 1917 tot 1967 werkzaam was geweest werd onderzocht op kankerincidentie in de periode 1960 tot 2002. Bij de subgroep die asbest via drinkwater had binnengekregen werd een relatief hoge incidentie van maag-darmkanker gevonden. Bron: Kjaerheim, K. et al. (2005).Cancer of the gastrointestinal tract and exposure to asbestos in drinking water among lighthouse keepers (Norway). Cancer causes and control. vol. 16 (2005), afl. 5, pag. 593-598 (6).

Kjaerheim, Kristina. Ulvestad, Bente. Martinsen, Jan Ivar. Andersen, Aage / In: Cancer causes and control. vol. 16 (2005), afl. 5, pag. 593-598 (6) / 2005


Objective Previous studies of predominantly ecological design have indicated a possible elevation of gastrointestinal cancer risk in population groups exposed to drinking water contaminated with asbestos from natural sources or asbestos’ cement containing water pipes. In the present study the possible effect of ingested asbestos fibers on gastrointestinal cancer risk was investigated in an occupational group where a proportion of the employees was exposed to asbestos in their drinking water.

Method A cohort of 726 lighthouse keepers first employed between 1917 and 1967 were followed up for cancer incidence from 1960 to 2002. The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) was calculated as the number of new cancer cases divided by the expected number based on five-year age and sex specific incidence rates in the general rural population of Norway. A 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated for all SIR values assuming a Poisson distribution of the cancer cases.

Results Risk of stomach cancer was elevated in the whole cohort (SIR: 1.6, CI: 1.0-2.3), in the subgroup with definite asbestos exposure (SIR: 2.5, CI: 0.9-5.5), and when the group was followed for 20&#8201.years and more after first possible exposure (SIR: 1.7, CI: 1.1-2.7). Less consistent results were found for colon cancer. SIR was 1.5 (CI: 0.9-2.2) overall, 0.8 (CI: 0.1-2.9) among the exposed, and 1.6 (CI: 1.0-2.5) twenty years and more after first possible exposure.

Conclusion The results support the hypothesis of an association between ingested asbestos and gastrointestinal cancer risk in general and stomach cancer risk specifically.