Study aims to uncover impact of workplaces on causing cancer
Researchers are setting out to examine ways of preventing people’s jobs from making them sick.
"The goal of the study is to really get a very detailed picture of the impact of workplace cancer on Canadians,” said Dr. Paul Demers, director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre.
The Canadian Cancer Society is providing $1 million to fund the research.
Researchers will examine 44 known or suspected carcinogens, including chemicals and metals, hoping to determine the number of new cancer cases and cancer deaths caused by workplace factors in several different industries.
“Types of mining operations where levels of dust are generated - that can increase, for instance, the risk of lung cancer,” said Demers.
Experts also said nurses who work night shifts seem to be at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Researchers said if their study reveals risks in workplaces, it won’t result in lawsuits or legal issues for employers. They said workers’ compensation would deal with those issues.
The purpose of the study is to promote prevention.
"If you look at asbestos - for many, many years we were told that it's safe and a sound product. And now many years later it's not at all. So we would like to issues like actually come to an end and we want to see workers stop being killed,” said Cory Szczepanski from the Brandon and District Labour Council.
Researchers said their study will also examine how much cancer in the workplace is costing the healthcare system.
The study is expected to take four years to complete.