Journal of Korean Medical Science. 2014 June. [Link]

Kim EA, Kim I, Kim JY.


The legal scope and criteria for occupational cancer in Korea was out of date. The aim of this study was to review the current criteria for occupational cancer and amend the existent criteria on the basis of recent scientific evidence. The scientific evidence and the legal list of occupational cancer were analyzed to identify the causes of occupational cancer on a global scale. The relationship between compensated occupational cancer cases and carcinogen exposure in Korea was examined. The factors associated with specific causes and target cancers were determined to produce additional criteria. Five-hundred and nineteen cases of 2,468 were awarded compensation for occupational cancer including lung, malignant mesothelioma, lymphohematopoietic, and liver cancers from January 2000 to October 2012. Between 1996 and 2005, benzene accounted for 84.4% of cases, and between 1999 and 2005, asbestos was associated with 62.3% of cases. Fourteen novel causative agents and 12 additional target cancers were identified and the final guidelines were amended to include 23 causative agents and 21 target cancers. This amendment of the criteria for occupational cancer represents the widest change in Korean history and is expected to improve the understanding of occupational cancer by providing an up-to-date and accurate reference guide.