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Creosote is a complex mixture of waste products from the petroleum industry. Several hundreds of components are present, mostly polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), some of which are carcinogenic. Most of the PAHs are readily metabolized in man, and some produce metabolites which are carcinogenic. Establishing exposure of those living near a creosote site requires measurement of dirt and dust carried into houses and airborne PAHs if the plant is still operating. Careful medical surveillance of the exposed individuals who have been or are being exposed is important with an emphasis on the organ systems that are targeted by the PAHs. If wood treatment is occurring at the site, arsenic, pentachlorophenol, and dioxins may be problematic also. Dr. Parent has carried out health surveys at similar sites to identify those at risk and provide criteria for the establishment of a medical monitoring program. A report and selected references are provided below.

Selected References

Amstutz, H. E., Suspected pentachlorophenol and creosote poisoning Modern Veterinary Practice, 61(1), 53-54 (1980).

Anonymous, Cancer warnings for creosote and bisphenol. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 1(3), 43N (1999).

Armstrong, B. and Theriault, G., Compensating lung cancer patients occupationally exposed to coal tar pitch volatiles. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 53, 160-167 (1996).

Armstrong, B. G., Tremblay, C. G., Cyr, D. and Theriault, G. P., Estimating the relationship between exposure to tar volatiles and the incidence of bladder cancer in aluminum smelter workers. Scandanavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health, 12(5), 486-493 (1986).

Arvin, E. and Flyvbjerg, J., Groundwater pollution arising from the disposal of creosote waste. Journal of Water and Environmental Management, 6, 646-652 (1992).

Agency for Toxico Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Toxicological profile for wood creosote, coal tar creosote, coal tar, coal tar pitch, and coal tar pitch volatiles. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 394 pages, September (2002).

Bertrand, J. P., Chau, N., Patris, A. et al., Mortality due to respiratory cancers in the coke oven plants of the Lorraine coal mining industry (Houilleres du Bassin de Lorraine). British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 44, 559-565 (1987).

Bonassi, S., Merlo, F., Pearce, N. and Puntoni, R., Bladder cancer and occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. International Journal of Cancer, 44(4), 648-651 (1989).

Bos, R. P., Hulshof, C. T. J., Theuws, J. L. G. and Henderson, P. T., Mutagenicity of creosote in the Salmonella/microsome assay. Mutation Research, 119, 21-25 (1983).

Brender, J., Suarez, L., Hendricks, K. et al., Health risks among residents living at the former site of a creosote wood treatment facility. American Journal of Epidemiology, 139, S50 (1994).

Carlsten, C., Hunt, S. C. and Kaufman, J. D., Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin and coal tar creosote exposure in a railroad worker. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(1), 96-97 (2005).

Clavel, J., Mandereau, L., Limasset, J. C., Hemon, D. and Cordier, S., Occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and the risk of bladder cancer: a French case-control study. International Journal of Epidemiollogy, 23(6), 1145-1153 (1994).

Cooper, C. S., Grover, P. L., Hewer, A., O'Hare, M., Macnicoll, A. P., Neville, A. M., Pal, K. and Sims, P., The possible involvement of polycyclic hydrocarbons in the aetiology of human mammary cancer. In:  Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons:  Physical and Biological  Chemistry. Cooke, M. A., Dennis, J. and Fisher, G. L. (eds). Springer-Verlag, New York, 211-219 (1982).

Cordier, S., Poisson, M., Gerin, M., Varin, J., Conso, F. and Hemon, D., Gliomas and exposure to wood preservatives. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 45(10), 705-709 (1988).

Cusano, F., Capozzi, M. and Errico, G., Allergic contact dermatitis from coal tar. Contact Dermatitis, 27(1), 51-52 (1992).

Dusich, K., Sigurdson, E., Hall, W. N. and Dean, A. G., Cancer rates in a community exposed to low levels of creosote components in municipal water. Minnesota Medicine, 63(11), 803-806 (1980).

El-Bayoumy, K., Environmental carcinogens that may be involved in human breast cancer etiology. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 5(5), 585-590 (1992).

Flodin, U., Fredriksson, M. and Persson, B., Multiple myeloma and engine exhausts, fresh wood, and creosote: a case-referent study. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 12(5), 519-529 (1987).

Garrett, J. S., Association between bladder tumors and chronic exposure to creosol and creosote. Journal of Occupational Medicine, 17(8), 492 (1975).

Haldin-Davis, H., Multiple warts in a creosote worker. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 29, 89-90 (1935).

Lenson, N., Multiple cutaneous carcinoma after creosote exposure. New England Journal of Medicine, 254, 520-522 (1956).

Persson, B., Dahlander, A. M., Frederiksson, M., Noorlind Brage, H., Ohlson, C. G. and Axelson, O., Malignant lymphoma and occupational exposure. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 46, 516-520 (1989).

Redmond, C. K., Strobino, B. R. and Cypress, R. H., Cancer experience among coke by-product  workers. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 271, 102-115 (1976).

Roe, F. J. C., Bosch, D. and Boutwell, R. K., The carcinogenicity of creosote oil: the induction of lung tumors in mice. Cancer Research, 18, 1176-1178 (1958).

Szczeklik, A., Szczeklik, J., Galuszka, Z., Musial, J., Kolarzyk, E. and Targosz, D., Humoral immunosuppression in men exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and related carcinogens in polluted environments. Environmental Health Perspectives, 102, 302-304 (1994).

Van Schooten, F. J., Hillebrand, M. J. X., Van Leeuwen, F. E., Lutgerink, J. T., Van Zandwijk, N., Jansen, H. M. and Kriek, E., Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA adducts in lung tissue from lung cancer patients. Carcinogenesis, 11(9), 1677-1681 (1990).

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