Potency Factors for Risk Assessment at Libby, Montana
We reanalyzed the Libby vermiculite miners’ cohort assembled by Sullivan to estimate potency factors for lung cancer, mesothelioma, nonmalignant respiratory disease (NMRD), and all-cause mortality associated with exposure to Libby fibers. Our principal statistical tool for analyses of lung cancer, NMRD, and total mortality in the cohort was the time-dependent proportional hazards model. For mesothelioma, we used an extension of the Peto formula. For a cumulative exposure to Libby fiber of 100 f/mL-yr, our estimates of relative risk (RR) are as follows: lung cancer, RR = 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) =[1.06, 1.17]; NMRD, RR = 1.14, 95% CI =[1.09, 1.18]; total mortality, RR = 1.06, 95% CI =[1.04, 1.08]. These estimates were virtually identical when analyses were restricted to the subcohort of workers who were employed for at least one year. For mesothelioma, our estimate of potency is KM = 0.5 × 10−8, 95% CI =[0.3 × 10−8, 0.8 × 10−8]. Finally, we estimated the mortality ratios standardized against the U.S. population for lung cancer, NMRD, and total mortality and obtained estimates that were in good agreement with those reported by Sullivan. The estimated potency factors form the basis for a quantitative risk assessment at Libby.
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