Common occupational hazards implicated in cancer
Occupational exposure to chemicals, dusts, radiation, and certain industrial processes have been tied to occupational cancer. Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) may cause mutations that allow cells to grow out of control, causing cancer. Carcinogens in the workplace may include chemicals like anilines, chromates, dinitrotoluenes, arsenic and inorganic arsenic compounds, beryllium and beryllium compounds, cadmium compounds, and nickel compounds. Dusts that can cause cancer leather or wood dusts, asbestos, crystalline forms of silica, coal tar pitch volatiles, coke oven emissions, diesel exhaust and environmental tobacco smoke. sunlight; radon gas; and industrial, medical, or other exposure to ionizing radiation can all cause cancer in the workplace. Industrial processes associated with cancer include aluminum production; iron and steel founding; and underground mining with exposure to uranium or radon. Shift work, which can disturb the circadian rhythm, has also been identified as a risk factor for some forms of cancer, in particular for breast cancer. 
Other factors that play a role in cancer include:
- Personal characteristics such as age, sex, and race
- Family history of cancer
- Diet and personal habits such as cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption
- The presence of certain medical conditions or past medical treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or some immune-system suppressing drugs.
- Exposure to cancer-causing agents in the environment (for example, sunlight, radon gas, air pollution, and infectious agents)
Common cancers and their exposures and occupations include:
|Cancer||Source||Examples of Occupations|
|Rubber, leather, paving, roofing,
printing and textile industries; paint/
dyeing products; chimney sweeping;
machinists; hairdressers and barbers;
|Kidney||Cadmium, trichloroethylene, herbicides,
|Painting; metalworking; petroleum,
plastics, and textile industries
|Larynx||Asbestos, wood dust, paint fumes||Metal working; petroleum, rubber,
plastics, and textile industries
|Leukemia||Formaldehyde, benzene, ethylene
|Rubber manufacturing; oil refining;
shoemaking, funeral embalming
|Liver||Arsenic, vinyl chloride, aflatoxins||Plastic manufacturing|
|Lung||Radon, secondhand smoke, asbestos,
arsenic, cadmium, chromium compounds,
diesel exhaust, sulfur mustard
|Rubber manufacturing, paving,
roofing, painting, chimney sweeping,
iron and steel foundry work, welding
|Lymphoma||Benzene, 1, 3-butadiene, ethylene
oxide, herbicides, insecticides
|Rubber manufacturing, painting,
hairdresser or barber
|Mesothelioma||Asbestos||Mining, railroad, automotive,
plumbing, painting and construction
industries; factory workers
|Nasal cavity and sinus||Mustard gas, nickel dust, chromium
dust, leather dust, wood dust, radium
|Textile and baking industry, flour
milling, nickel refining, furniture and
cabinet builders, shoemaking
|Skin||Arsenic, coal tars, paraffin, certain oils,
|Chimney sweeping; outside jobs that
involve a lot of sun exposure
An estimated 48,000 cancers are diagnosed yearly in the US that come from occupational causes; this represents approximately 4-10% of total cancer in the United States. It is estimated that 19% of cancers globally are attributed to environmental exposures (including work-related exposures).
Many occupational cancers are preventable. Personal protective gear, workplace controls, and worker education can prevent exposure to carcinogens in the workplace. Tobacco smoking has also been shown to increase the risk of work-related cancers; decreasing or abstaining from smoking can decrease cancer risk.
Agencies like the US Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration have developed safety standards and limits for chemical and radiation exposure. International Labour Organization has also adopted Occupation Cancer Convention (C139) in 1979 for improvement of workplace safety conditions.
- "Carcinogen List". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Occupation and Cancer" (PDF). American Cancer Society. January 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
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- Stevens RG, Hansen J, Costa G, Haus E, Kauppinen T, Aronson KJ, et al. (February 2011). "Considerations of circadian impact for defining 'shift work' in cancer studies: IARC Working Group Report". Occup Environ Med. 68 (2): 154–62. doi:10.1136/oem.2009.053512. ISSN 1351-0711. PMID 20962033. S2CID 16553063.
- Megdal SP, Kroenke CH, Laden F, Pukkala E, Schernhammer ES (September 2005). "Night work and breast cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Eur. J. Cancer. 41 (13): 2023–32. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2005.05.010. PMID 16084719.
- "CDC - Cancer Policy - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic". www.cdc.gov. Retrieved 2016-02-12.
- "Occupational Cancer". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Environmental and occupational cancers". World Health Organization (in British English). Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved 2016-02-12.