Does benzene cause multiple myeloma? An analysis of the published case-control literature

Shewit Bezabeh, Arnold Engel, Carolyn B. Morris, Steven H. Lamm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Two case series and two epidemiological studies in the 1970s and 1980s suggested that benzene exposure might be a risk factor for multiple myeloma. An analysis has now been conducted of the published population-based and hospital-based case-control studies published through mid-1995 that permit examination of the relationship between multiple myeloma and benzene exposure or surrogates for benzene exposure. No increased association was found between multiple myeloma and benzene exposure or exposure to chemical groups that included benzene. The odds ratios from these analyses approximated 1.0. Exposures to petroleum products and employment in petroleum-related occupations did not appear to be risk factors for multiple myeloma. Cigarette smoking, as a surrogate of benzene exposure, was not found to be associated with multiple myeloma, while some studies of products of combustion described as 'engine exhaust' did show a significant association with multiple myeloma, in toto, the population-based and hospital-based case-control literature indicated that benzene exposure was not a likely causal factor for multiple myeloma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1393-1398
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue numberSUPPL. 6
StatePublished - Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Benzene
  • Case-control studies
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Occupational exposures
  • Petroleum products
  • Solvents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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