Friday, September 21, 2012

Japan: Number of bile duct cancer deaths for ex-workers at printing company 2,900 times normal

The number of deaths of former workers at an Osaka printing company due to bile duct cancer was around 2,900 times the usual rate for Japanese males, according to a study.

Associate professor Shinji Kumagai of the University of Occupational and Environmental Health conducted the study on Sanyo CYP, which marked the first of a string of bile duct cancer cases linked to printing companies around the country. Kumagai was to announce the results of the study at a meeting of the Japan Biliary Association on Sept. 21.

According to the study, there were 62 men who worked for a year or more at the company's proofreading division from 1991 through 2006, and of them six have died with bile duct cancer ruled as the cause of death. Based on the average bile duct cancer death rate for Japanese males, the death rate for the 62 men from the cancer should have only reached 0.00204, but the six deaths come to around 2,900 times this figure.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, meanwhile, has confirmed seven deaths of former employees of the company from bile duct cancer. Using this number, the death rate is around 3,400 times what would be expected.

The studied period of 1991 to 2006 matches with a period when the chemical substance and suspected carcinogen 1,2-Dichloropropane was used for cleaning printing machines in a poorly ventilated building.

Kumagai says, "It is clearly an abnormal number, and it is certain that bile duct cancer was caused by the work." Read More