Occupational Hazards And Hairy Cell Leukemia

In the study by Nordstrom et al. data supported agriculture-related exposures as an increased risk for HCL. There was also an overall elevated odds ratio for exposure to farm animals, specifically cattle, horses, hogs, poultry, and sheep. There is, however, a question of recall bias affecting these results.11 Ruiz-Arguelles reported on 27 patients with HCL in Mexico and found that the proportion of patients with leukemia to be higher in the northern region of the country where farming and agriculture is more preva-lent.1 Clavel reports on 225 men with HCL and 425 matched controls, and found that 20.8% of the cases were farmers.10

Organic solvents have been implicated in the etiology of HCL in several series.12-14 One of the larger case-control studies of 291 cases with HCL and 541 matched controls was published in the British Journal of Hematology15 and did not find an association with jobs involving exposure to solvents. The study admittedly lacked the power to investigate higher odds ratio for some jobs, such as spray painters. Previous studies have suggested an association with organic solvents.

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