Overview of occupational cancer in painters in Korea

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Comprehensive consideration is necessary for setting guidelines to evaluate evidence of occupational cancer in painters due to work-related exposure to carcinogens in paint (a phenomenon termed herein as "work-relatedness"). The aim of the present research is to perform a comprehensive review and to suggest criteria for the provision of compensation for occupational neoplasm among painters in Korea. In order to perform a comprehensive review, this study assessed and evaluated scientific reports of carcinogenicities from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC), as well as reviewed the existing literature about occupational exposure among painters in Korea and the epidemiologic investigations of claimed cases of cancer among painters in Korea. The IARC declares that occupational exposures in commercial painting are classified as Group 1 carcinogens for lung cancer and bladder cancer among painters. The epidemiologic studies show consistent causal relationships between occupational exposure in painters and cancers such as lung cancer [meta relative risk: 1.34 (95% confidence intervals (CIs): 1.23-1.41)] and bladder cancer [meta relative risk: 1.24 (95% CIs: 1.16-1.33)]. In reviewing occupational cancer risks for commercial painters, the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) confirms occupational cancer risks for lung and bladder cancer among commercial painters. According to the IIAC, however, the elevated cancer risks reported in existing literature are not doubled in either lung or bladder cancer in commercial painters relative to the risks of these cancers in the general population. Based on our review of existing Korean articles on the topic, painters are exposed to potential carcinogens including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, hexavalent chrome, crystalized silica, asbestos, and other agents, and relative levels are estimated within commercial painting processes. However, the cancer risks of occupational exposure to Group 1 carcinogens for lung and bladder cancer in painters per se are not fully assessed in existing Korean articles. Total work duration, potential carcinogens in paint, mixed exposure to paints across various industries such as construction and shipbuilding, exposure periods, latent periods, and other factors should be considered on an individual basis in investigating the work-relatedness of certain types of cancer in commercial painters.




Myong, J. P., Cho, Y., Choi, M., & Kim, H. R. (2018, February 6). Overview of occupational cancer in painters in Korea. Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40557-018-0222-3

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