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Specialist building and metalworking trades are those most affected by work-related cancers, according to a study by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) presented on 6 June in Marseille.

The study was carried out as part of the Cancer Plan (2014-2019) by the National Network for the Monitoring and Prevention of Occupational Diseases (Rnv3p), coordinated by ANSES. It analysed data linked to more than 11 000 cases of cancer diagnosed between 2001 and 2016.

Asbestos was deemed to be the cause of 42 % of the work-related cancers examined, far outstripping polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (released during combustion), which were responsible for 6.5 % of the cases.

These types of cancers are most common in specialist building sectors (16.2 %), metalworking (6.1 %), and car and motorcycle sales and repairs (5.2 %).

They primarily affect those working in skilled jobs in metalworking, mechanical engineering and similar sectors (22.9 %), those in skilled construction and similar jobs (22.1 %), and machinery and plant operators (7.3 %).

‘By targeting the most high-risk sectors and professions, we are highlighting exposure that would not have been recognised as carcinogenic in the occupational disease tables’, explained Professor Gérard Lasfargues, Managing Director-General of the ANSES Science for Expertise Department.

Source: Anses