Searching for evidence: Lung cancer and occupational exposure to crystalline Silica

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In 2006 the Spanish Occupational Diseases (OD) list was updated and its content and structure were adapted to the Commission Recommendation 2003/670/EC concerning the European schedule of OD. In the national list, the possible carcinogenicity of silica fits in Annex 2 regarding a supplementary schedule of diseases with suspected occupational origin.

In this scenario, in 2011 the INSHT, and other six OSH regional organisms, agreed to undertake a systematic review about the possible carcinogenic effects of occupational exposure to silica.

ThINSHT silica exposure and lung cancere primary objective of this research was to analyse the current scientific evidence regarding the increased risk of lung cancer derived from occupational exposure to silica, through an evidence synthesis of published systematic reviews and meta-analyses (SRs/MAs). Additionally, a qualitative analysis of those high-quality primary studies was conducted.

This synthesis did not sought to establish the relationship between silicosis and lung cancer but it focused on the relationship between exposure to silica dust and the development of lung cancer, with or without the intermediate step of developing silicosis. This point was determinant when selecting MAs and SRs, as well as the primary studies included therein.

The research shows how MAs and SRs unanimously accept the existence of a relationship between exposure to silica and lung cancer. Nevertheless, the differences between the studies regarding methodology hinder to establish doses-response standards or exposure threshold for carcinogenetic, so far.

The resulting report includes a summary of the key aspects about methodology, results and discussion of this synthesis of the evidence in a clear and concise report. The detailed descriptions of the methodology, all steps performed and the exhaustive analyses of the studies are reflected in the annexes.

This report titled “Occupational exposure to crystalline Silica related to lung cancer scientific evidence synthesis” is now available in English at: http://xurl.es/oect-silice-eng

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