Brain Tumor Cluster in an Electronic Component Plant.
Sweeney-MH; Stern-FB; Ahrenholz-SH
A study of brain tumor mortality among workers in an electronic components facility was conducted. Death benefit files of an electronic components manufacturing factory in southeastern Wisconsin were reviewed. All causes of death for the period 1950 to 1980 were coded by a nosologist. Proportionate mortality ratios and proportionate cancer mortality ratios were computed. A case control study of all brain cancer deaths nested within the main study was also conducted. Each case was matched to four referents according to sex, date of birth, date of hire, and length of employment. Odds ratios were calculated for job categories in which at least three cases were ever employed. A total of 508 deaths were identified in the 1950 to 1980 period, 504 occurring among white employees. A total of 412 white males and 92 white females died. The four nonwhite deaths were excluded from analysis because of the small number; none of these were brain cancer deaths. A statistically significant increase in mortality from brain cancer occurred in male hourly employees. Statistically nonsignificant increases in brain cancer mortality were found in male salaried employees and female employees. Statistically nonsignificant increases in deaths from nonmalignant disorders of the central nervous system among males and suicides and homicides among male hourly employees and females occurred. A statistically significant increase was found for death from brain cancer in male hourly employees. In the case study, statistically nonsignificant increases in odds ratios for brain cancer were found for maintenance workers, machinists, and general office personnel. The authors note that none of the chemicals used at the facility such as chlorinated solvents are known to cause brain cancer in laboratory animals. It is not possible to conclude whether the elevated odds ratios for machinists, maintenance, and general office workers represent a real risk or are due to chance.
NIOSH-Author; Mortality-rates; Case-studies; Risk-factors; Brain-tumors; Electronics-industry; Risk-analysis; Epidemiology;
The Changing Nature of Work and Workforce, Proceedings of the Third Joint US-Finnish Science Symposium, Frankfort, Kentucky, October 22-24, 1986, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio