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Coke oven workers in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and at 10 non-Allegheny County coke plants in the United States and Canada were found to be at an excess risk of mortality from cancer of all sites and from cancer of the lungs, bronchus, trachea, kidney, and prostate. An important finding of this study was the dose-response found by both length of exposure and intensity of exposure (top or side of the ovens) for mortality from cancer of the lungs, bronchus, and trachea. A study of Japanese coke oven workers also found them to be at an excess risk of lung cancer mortality. British studies of cancer mortality in coke oven workers have generally been negative, but there were weaknesses in these studies. Coke oven emissions produce positive results in mutagenicity studies. Coal tar, a condensate of coke oven emissions, and various constituents of coke oven emissions have been found to be positive in both mutagenicity and animal carcinogenicity studies.
U.S. EPA. Carcinogen Assessment of Coke Oven Emissions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/6-82/003F (NTIS PB84170182).