Work, Environment and Cancer

Group leader: Ole Raaschou-Nielsen

We focus on identification of risk factors for cancer in the work- and external environment.

We investigate a number of potential risk factors in the external environment (e.g., air pollution, noise, pesticides and other chemicals) as well as work-related exposures (e.g., shift work, firefighters, welders, seafarers, and IARC group 2A and 2B chemicals).

We have ongoing studies on among others:

  • Air pollution and risk for different cancers and other diseases
  • Identification of the most harmful components of particulate matter air pollution
  • Noise and risk for several cancers and other diseases
  • Shift work and risk for different cancers
  • Occupational risk factors for breast cancer
  • Parental occupational exposures and risk of cancer in offspring
  • Fluorinated compounds and risk for breast cancer
Work, Environment and Cancer test

Air pollution affects large populations worldwide both occupationally and in the external environment

We use nationwide and reliable Danish registries intensively, including the Central Population Registry, the Cancer Registry, the Hospitalization Register, the Medical Birth Register the Pension Register and the Medical Prescription register.Further, we use socio-demographic data for the Danish population from registries at Statistics Denmark.

We use different designs ranging from nation-wide cohorts to case-cohort designs based on classical cohorts with biological samples as well as case-control studies. 

Identification of risk factors facilitate prevention of cancer. Our results contribute to authorities’ and IARC’s classification of carcinogens and documentation for the Danish National Board on Industrial Injuries.

Selected publications

Eriksen KT, McElroy JA, Harrington JM, Levine KE, Pedersen C, Sorensen M, Tjønneland A, Meliker JR, Raaschou-Nielsen O: Urinary Cadmium and Breast Cancer: A Prospective Danish Cohort Study. J Natl Cancer Inst 2016;109(2):djw204

Hansen J: Night Shift Work and Risk of Breast Cancer. Curr Environ Health Rep 2017;4(3):325-339

Pedersen JE, Strandberg-Larsen K, Andersson M, Hansen J: Breast cancer among Danish women occupationally exposed to diesel exhaust and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, 1964-2016. Scand J Work Environ Health 2020; 3923

Hvidtfeldt UA, Erdmann F, Urhøj SK, Brandt J, Geels C, Ketzel M, Frohn LM, Christensen JH, Sørensen M, Raaschou-Nielsen O: Air pollution exposure at the residence and risk of childhood cancers in Denmark: A nationwide register-based case-control study. EClinicalMedicine 2020; 28:100569

Thacher JD, Oudin A, Flanagan E, Mattisson K, Albin M, Roswall N, Pyko A, Aasvang GM, Andersen ZJ, Borgquist S, Brandt J, Broberg K, Cole-Hunter T, Eriksson C, Eneroth K, Gudjonsdottir H, Helte E, Ketzel M, Lanki T, Lim YH, Leander K, Ljungman P, Manjer J, Männistö S, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Pershagen G, Rizzuto D, Sandsveden M, Selander J, Simonsen MK, Stucki L, Spanne M, Stockfelt L, Tjønneland A, Yli-Tuomi T, Tiittanen P, Valencia VH, Ögren M, Åkesson A, Sørensen M: Exposure to long-term source-specific transportation noise and incident breast cancer: A pooled study of eight Nordic cohorts. Environ Int 2023; 178:108108

Pedersen JE, Hansen J: Incident skin melanoma in Danish male military pilots: a nested case-control study. Occup Environ Med 2023; 80:239-245

Roswall N, Thacher JD, Ögren M, Pyko A, Åkesson A, Oudin A, Tjønneland A, Rosengren A, Poulsen AH, Eriksson C, Segersson D, Rizzuto D, Helte E, Andersson EM, Aasvang GM, Gudjonsdottir H, Khan J, Selander J, Christensen JH, Brandt J, Leander K, Mattisson K, Eneroth K, Stucki L, Barregard L, Stockfelt L, Albin M, Simonsen MK, Spanne M, Jousilahti P, Tiittanen P, Molnàr P, Ljungman PLS, Yli-Tuomi T, Cole-Hunter T, Lanki T, Hvidtfeldt UA, Lim YH, Andersen ZJ, Pershagen G, Sørensen M: Long-term exposure to traffic noise and risk of incident colon cancer: A pooled study of eleven Nordic cohorts. Environ Res 2023; 224:115454

Hvidtfeldt UA, Chen J, Rodopoulou S, Strak M, de Hoogh K, Andersen ZJ, Bellander T, Brandt J, Fecht D, Forastiere F, Gulliver J, Hertel O, Hoffmann B, Katsouyanni K, Ketzel M, Leander K, Magnusson PKE, Nagel G, Pershagen G, Rizzuto D, Samoli E, So R, Stafoggia M, Tjønneland A, Weinmayr G, Wolf K, Zhang J, Zitt E, Brunekreef B, Hoek G, Raaschou-Nielsen O: Long-term air pollution exposure and malignant intracranial tumours of the central nervous system: a pooled analysis of six European cohorts. Br J Cancer 2023; 129:656-664 


Group leader Ole Raaschou-Nielsen
Research profile


Work, Environment and Cancer
Staff Members

Key Funding

National Institute of Health (NIH), USA


Health Effects Institute, USA

Danish Research Council


Danish Working Environment Fund