Skip to content

Metalworking Fluids and Colon Cancer Risk: Longitudinal Targeted Minimum Loss-based Estimation

Metalworking fluids (MWFs) are a class of complex mixtures of chemicals and oils, including several known carcinogens that may pose a cancer hazard to millions of workers. Reports on the relation between MWFs and incident colon cancer have been mixed. We investigated the relation between exposure to straight, soluble, and synthetic MWFs and the incidence of colon cancer in a cohort of automobile manufacturing industry workers, adjusting for time-varying confounding affected by prior exposure to reduce healthy worker survivor bias. We used longitudinal targeted minimum loss-based estimation (TMLE) to estimate the difference in the cumulative incidence of colon cancer comparing counterfactual outcomes if always exposed above to always exposed below an exposure cutoff while at work. Exposure concentration cutoffs were selected a priori at the 90th percentile of total particulate matter for each fluid type: 0.034, 0.400, and 0.003 for straight, soluble, and synthetic MWFs, respectively. The estimated 25-year risk differences were 3.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.7, 7.0) for straight, 1.3% (95% CI = -2.3, 4.8) for soluble, and 0.2% (95% CI = -3.3, 3.7) for synthetic MWFs, respectively. The corresponding risk ratios were 2.39 (1.12, 5.08), 1.43 (0.67, 3.04), and 1.08 (0.51, 2.30) for straight, soluble, and synthetic MWFs, respectively. By controlling for time-varying confounding affected by prior exposure, a key feature of occupational cohorts, we were able to provide evidence for a causal effect of straight MWF exposure on colon cancer risk that was not found using standard analytical techniques in previous reports.

Authors: Izano MA; Sofrygin OA; Picciotto S; Bradshaw PT; Eisen EA

Environ Epidemiol. 2019 Feb;3(1):e035. Epub 2019-02-12.

PubMed abstract

Explore all studies and publications

Back To Top