A survey of mortality among automobile assembly workers (SIC-3711) was conducted. The cohort consisted of all hourly workers with 10 or more years of service in four Ford assembly factories who died between January 1, 1970 and December 31, 1981. Union records, company pension records, the Michigan death registry, and other records were reviewed. Standardized proportionate mortality ratios were calculated and analyzed according to sex, race, hourly status, latency, and employment duration. A total of 1,808 deaths were identified. Of these, 1,483 satisfied the cohort criteria. A total of 1,217 deaths were white males. An excess proportion of deaths due to lymphoreticulosarcomas, stomach cancer, and nonmalignant diseases of the central nervous system occurred in white males. Among 159 black males, excess mortality due to cancer of the pancreas and colon occurred. Mortality due to stroke was significantly reduced. Lung cancer mortality was elevated only in white males who died 10 to 15 years after initial employment. The authors note that the results contradict previously reported increases in lung cancer mortality among automobile assembly workers. The observed decrease in stroke as a cause of death among black assembly workers should be investigated further.
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers (UAW), Detroit, Michigan, NIOSH Contract No. 210-81-5104, 46 pages, 39 references