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International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Summaries & Evaluations

The LEATHER GOODS MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY
(OTHER THAN BOOT AND SHOE MANUFACTURE AND TANNING)

VOL.: 25 (1981) (p. 279)

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Summary of data

There have been a few case reports of nasal carcinomas among leather-goods manufacturers other than boot and shoemakers.

No observations on laryngeal cancer specifically related to leather-goods manufacturers other than boot and shoe manufacturers and tanners were available. In a large, multi-tumour-site study in New York State, the relative risk for laryngeal cancer associated with employment for more than five years in the leather industry (not further specified) was 5.5 (based on 6 cases).

No observations on lung cancer specifically related to 'other' leather goods manufacturers were available. The SMR for leather workers in England and Wales in 1971 was 104; SMRs for 'operatives, leather' and for 'leather except footwear' in the US were 103 (based on 37 cases) and 140 (based on 28 cases), respectively. In a cross-sectional study in Los Angeles in 1972-1973, the risk ratio for men engaged in 'leather manufacturing and sales' was 1.72 (p < 0.05). No information on smoking habits was given in these studies.

No observations on bladder cancer specifically related to leather-goods manufacturers other than boot and shoe manufacturers and tanners were available. In England and Wales, SMRs for 'leather workers' in 1961 and for 'leather' in 1971 were 122 (based on 8 cases) and 151, respectively. An association between work in the leather trades and bladder cancer is suggested by three of four case-control studies. In the one study among these in which occupations were reported by cases and controls, one of the 12 cases (a pocket-book maker) and three controls had been engaged in the production of 'other' leather goods.

No observations on lymphoma specifically related to leather goods manufacturers other than boot and shoe manufactures and tanners were available. The SMR for 'leather workers' in England and Wales in 1971 was 184 for non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and 77 for Hodgkin's disease. In a large, multi-tumour-site case-control study in New York State, the relative risk for all lymphomas for 'leather workers' was 3.4 in men (based on 7 cases; p < 0.05) and 2.6 in women (based on 8 cases; p < 0.05).

A number of cases of pancytopenia, erythroleukaemia and leukaemia have been observed among workers exposed to benzene during the manufacture of leather goods other than shoes and boots in Turkey and Italy.

The SMR for leukaemia for 'leather workers' in England and Wales in 1971 was 119, and that for 'operatives, leather' in the US was 73 (based on 6 cases).

No studies of other cancers specifically related to 'other' leather goods manufacturers are available. In a large, multi-tumour-site case-control study in New York State the relative risk for cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx for male 'leather workers' was 3.2 (based on 18 cases; p < 0.01). A correlation study in the US reported that mortality rates for cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx were slightly elevated in counties with leather manufacturing industries.

Vital statistics in England and Wales and the US suggest that death rates from renal cancers among 'leather workers' and 'employees in the leather industry' are greater than in the general population.

In addition to benzene, employment in the production and handling of leather goods (other than boots and shoes and tanning) may entail exposure to a number of chemicals for which there is evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and/or laboratory animals (see Appendix 5, in this volume).

5.2 Evaluation

There are a few reports of cases of leukaemia following exposure to benzene (a known human carcinogen, see IARC, 1974) in the manufacture of leather goods other than boots and shoes or in tanning. The few cases of nasal cancers reported are insufficient to make an association with employment in the manufacture of leather goods (other than boots and shoes or tanning).

A positive association between employment in the leather industry (not further specified) with bladder cancer is supported by a number of studies; but the specific role of the production of leather goods (other than boots and shoes or tanning) cannot be evaluated. The suggested associations between employment in the leather industry (not further specified) and cancer of the lung, larynx, oral cavity and pharynx, kidney and lymphomas come from hypothesis-generating surveys. They do not refer specifically to workers engaged in the production of leather goods (other than boots and shoes or tanning).

Subsequent evaluation: Suppl. 7 (1987)


Last updated: 8 April 1998






















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