Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 726 11 R2
R. McCutcheon - M. Christie - C. Salama
  • Evidence (epidemiological)
  • Exposure (chemicals)
  • Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin's)
  • Reconsideration

The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which the worker related to exposure while working for a package printing company from 1986 to 1996. On the evidence at the original hearing, the Panel dismissed the appeal.

The worker applied for reconsideration of Decision No. 726/11. The worker submitted new evidence in the form of a report from a specialist in occupational medicine. That report concluded that the medical opinions provided to the hearing panel were of high quality but focused too narrowly on the association between benzene and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, without looking at evidence linking the printing industry generally with the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Decision No. 726/11R found that this report constituted substantial new evidence that could affect the outcome of the decision.
In accordance with Decision No. 726/11R, the Panel reheard the worker's appeal regarding entitlement for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In addition to benzene, the worker had exposure to MEK, toluol/toluene, ethylacetate, methanol, acetone, isopropyl alcohol, and xylene. The Panel identified two elements of exposure: the pattern of exposure, which is defined as routine, occasional or rare, and the category of exposure, which is defined as high, moderate or low. The worker had routine high exposure to benzene and these other chemicals from 1986 to 1988, routine elevated exposure to benzene and these other chemicals from 1988 to 1996, and occasional low exposure to trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene from 1988 to 1996.
This combination has been associated with a significantly elevate risk of follicular lymphoma, which is the worker's specific form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, estimated at 1.7. This is somewhat below the standard of 2, but evidence indicated that the upper range was above 2.
The Panel concluded that the worker had entitlement for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The appeal was allowed.