Professor Tom Sorahan PhD, DSc, FFOM(Hon)

Professor Tom Sorahan

Institute of Applied Health Research
Professor of Occupational Epidemiology

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 3644
+44 (0)121 414 6217
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Institute of Applied Health Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Tom Sorahan has published more than 60 first-authored peer-reviewed papers on the identification and quantification of occupational cancer risks.


  • DSc 1998
  • PhD 1982


Tom Sorahan qualified with a BSc in Physics from the University of Birmingham in 1970. He went on to work as a research assistant in the (then) Department of Social Medicine at Birmingham University and developed an interest in epidemiological methods for the identification of occupational cancer. Over the years Tom has developed cohort studies of workers in a number of different industries including studies of rubber workers, steel foundry workers, chrome platers, semicionductor workers, nickel platers, nickel-cadmium battery workers, oil refinery workers, electricity power station workers and polyurethane foam manufacturers.


Teaching Programmes


Postgraduate supervision

Tom is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following area:

  • The identification and quantification of occupational cancer risks by means of epidemiological approaches.

If you are interesting in studying in this subject area please contact Tom on the contact details above.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.    



Occupational cancer epidemiology, childhood cancer epidemiology.


Occupational cancer

The main emphasis of Tom’s work over the last 30 years has been on the identification and quantification of occupational cancer risks by means of epidemiological cohort studies. Recent work has focussed on studies of magnetic field exposure in 80,000 workers from the electricity supply industry (power stations sub-stations, transmission workers) and studies of benzene exposure in 50,000 oil refinery and petroleum distribution workers. The electricity industry studies failed to find any relationship between magnetic field exposures and risks of leukaemia or brain cancer (positive associations had been earlier reported in a similar, large US study. The oil industry studies failed to identify any discernible excess risks of acute myeloid leukaemia although an earlier study Tom carried out into benzene exposed workers from various UK industries in the 1950’s and 1960’s found a doubling of risk for this leukaemia. It seems likely that exposures in the oil industry were not high enough to cause a discernible problem.  


Sorahan T. 2008. Bladder cancer risks in workers manufacturing chemicals for the rubber industry. Occup Med 58:496-501.

Sorahan T. 2009. Cancer risks in chemical production workers exposed to 2-mercaptobenzothiazole. Occup Environ Med 66:269-273.

Sorahan T. 2009. Lung cancer mortality in arsenic-exposed workers from a cadmium recovery plant. Occup Environ Med 59:264-266.

Dost A, Straughan JK, Sorahan T. 2009. Cancer incidence and exposure to 4,4`-methylene-bis-ortho-chloroaniline (MbOCA). Occup Med 59:402-405.

Hara T, Hoshuyama T, Takahashi K, Delgermaa V, Sorahan T. 2010. Cancer risk among Japanese chromium platers, 1976-2003. Scand J Work Environ Health 36:216-221.

Sorahan T. 2010.Cadmium, arsenic and lung cancer: the bigger picture. Occup Med 60:236.

Ward EM, Schulte PA, Straif K…….Sorahan T…….Zeise L, Cogliano VJ. 2010. Research recommendations for selected IARC-classified agents. Environ Health Perspect 118:1355-1362

Park EK, Takahsahi K, Hoshuyama T, Cheng TJ, Delgermaa V, Le GV, Sorahan T. 2011. Global magnitude of reported and unreported mesothelioma. Environ Health Perspect (doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002845)


Occupational cancer


Industrial Cancer Risks