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10/03/2009

Organic solvent rises non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk

(NaturalNews) A recent study conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut has revealed that women who are exposed to organic solvents while at work have a higher risk of getting non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

About Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

According to the Mayo Clinic, non-Hodgkin lymphoma originates from one's lymphatic system, the core disease-repelling system in the human body. In this condition, tumors arise from lymphocytes, which are a kind of white blood cell. In its initial stages, symptoms of the ailment may only be the presence of swollen lymph nodes in one's neck, armpit or groin areas; these are usually painless. Other possible warning signs include fever, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal swelling or pain, difficulty breathing, and very itchy skin.

Statistics from the National Cancer Institute reveal that there were 66,120 new cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the US in 2008, with 19,160 persons dying from it. According to the researchers, its incidence has increased by about 3 to 4% annually since the beginning of the 70s.

About Organic Solvents

Organic solvents are any solvents which contain carbon. Many of these chemicals, for example benzene, are established carcinogens. Further, chlorinated solvents are organic solvents which also contain chlorine; such chemicals are not only harmful to humans, but to the environment as well.

Details and Findings of Study

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, had involved 601 Connecticut women who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma between 1996 and 2000. 717 healthy women without the condition were used as the control group. The women's occupational exposure to organic solvents was analyzed and compared with their cancer risk.

It was found that exposure to formaldehyde increased the women's risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 30%, while exposure to chlorinated solvents boosted risk by 40%. Further, exposure to carbon tetrachloride elevated risk by a whopping 130%.

The likelihood of getting non-Hodgkin lymphoma rose with increasing average intensity, average probability, cumulative intensity and cumulative probability of exposure to organic solvents. In addition, risk also heightened with increasing average probability and cumulative intensity of exposure to chlorinated solvents. In short, overall, the more one is exposed, both in terms of frequency and intensity, the higher one's risk.

Such findings mirror those from previous research, which had also discovered elevated risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in jobs whereby people were more likely to be exposed to organic solvents. Such occupations include embalming, dry cleaning, and the application of pesticides.

"These results support a potential association between occupational exposure to organic solvents and the risk of NHL [non-Hodgkin lymphoma] among women. Further evaluation of the relation between solvent exposure and risk of NHL and its subtypes is warranted," concluded the researchers.

For those at risk, it is a good idea to take some measures to protect yourself or reduce your exposure.

Sources

Study links organic solvents to lymphoma risk (http://www.reuters.com/article/heal...)

Rong Wang, Yawei Zhang, Qing Lan, Theodore R. Holford, Brian Leaderer, Shelia Hoar Zahm, Peter Boyle, Mustafa Dosemeci, Nathaniel Rothman, Yong Zhu, Qin Qin and Tongzhang Zheng. Occupational Exposure to Solvents and Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Connecticut Women. American Journal of Epidemiology 2009; 169(2):176-185.

Mayo Clinic website at MayoClinic.com

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