Breast Cancer Risk in Office Workers
- Challenge: Cardno ChemRisk® was asked by an employer to assess breast cancer incidence data for an office facility in which workers were concerned about a perceived cluster of recent breast cancer diagnoses among employees. Cardno ChemRisk was asked to evaluate whether any environmental conditions present in the building could have posed a potential health hazard to the building’s employees.
- Approach: Cardno ChemRisk reviewed several years of indoor air sampling data collected in the office building. The concentrations of various chemicals, including volatile organic compounds, metals, pesticides, radon, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and electromagnetic fields, were compared with the recommended standards (e.g., EPA, CalEPA, OSHA). Cardno ChemRisk then calculated breast cancer incidence rates using available employee data and compared them to breast cancer incidence rates reported for the region during a similar time period. Regional and national incidence data were analyzed to determine trends in breast cancer incidence over time, and to illustrate the impact of factors such as age, race and socioeconomic factors.
- Findings: Cardno ChemRisk concluded that the data indicated good indoor environmental quality, and found no data that suggested the presence of any known or suspected breast carcinogens in the building at measurable concentrations or above background concentrations. Furthermore, breast cancer incidence among the female workers in the building was not significantly higher than would be expected for Northern California residents. An overview of the analysis and an informational course on breast cancer incidence and risk factors was presented to the employees.
- Value: Cardno ChemRisk scientists used their expertise to address employee concerns regarding a potential health hazard by evaluating indoor environmental data and breast cancer rates regionally and locally. Additionally, Cardno ChemRisk was able to address employee concerns through effective outreach.