October 4, 2017 by Corinne Lynds
TORONTO – A new report released today by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) and Cancer Care Ontario has found that thousands of Ontario workers are exposed to cancer-causing hazards in the workplace, with solar ultraviolet radiation, asbestos, diesel engine exhaust and silica contributing to the majority of occupational cancers.
Ontarians spend an average of one-third of their waking hours at work, yet until recently very little research has been done to determine the extent of cancer-causing exposures in Ontario workplaces.
The report, Burden of Occupational Cancer in Ontario: Major Workplace Carcinogens and Prevention of Exposure,profiles 11 priority carcinogens that are well-established causes of cancer and the most common known or suspected carcinogens found in Ontario workplaces. It also highlights opportunities for prevention at the policy level, as well as in workplaces.
“Occupational exposures are associated with a substantial and often overlooked burden of cancer in Ontario. These cancers are almost entirely preventable,” says Paul Demers, director, Occupational Cancer Research Centre. “The findings in this report will inform evidence-based actions to enhance prevention efforts, particularly in the industries where workers are regularly exposed to carcinogens.”
The best opportunity to decrease the burden of occupational cancer is to prevent and control exposure to four key carcinogens: solar ultraviolet radiation, asbestos, diesel engine exhaust and silica.
The report proposes four overarching policy recommendations to help reduce the burden of occupational cancers, which include:
“The best way to prevent occupational cancer is through system-level actions that are based on strong evidence,” says Alice Peter, director, Population Health and Prevention, Cancer Care Ontario. “The policy recommendations in this report have been developed with several sectors in mind, and it is our hope that this information will be a call to action for governments, employers and other health and safety organizations to drive change and help prevent future occupational cancers among Ontario workers.”
Burden of Occupational Cancer in Ontario: Major Workplace Carcinogens and Prevention of Exposure is the sixth report in Cancer Care Ontario’s Cancer Risk Factors in Ontario series. A full copy of the report is available at https://www.cancercare.on.ca/occupationreport.
SOURCE Cancer Care Ontario