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Occupational Characteristics of White Cancer Victims in Massachusetts 1971-1973

September 1984
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 84-109
84-109 Cover

A survey of cancer mortality according to occupation among white males in Massachusetts was conducted. Death certificates for 1971 to 1973 were reviewed. Sixty two malignancy categories and cirrhosis of the liver were investigated for 397 occupational categories using an age adjusted mortality odds ratio approach. A strong correlation of excess mortality due to cancer of the trachea, bronchus, and lung with occupations such as asbestos workers, shipyard workers, steelworkers, truck drivers, painters, machinists, automobile mechanics, plumbers, fishermen, heated metal workers, sheet metal workers, brick masons, stonemasons, and tile setters was found. Significant excesses of cancers of the buccal cavity and pharynx were found in subjects involved in printing trades. Significant excesses of prostate cancer were correlated with typesetters, painters, construction and maintenance workers, and welders. A significant excess of all neoplasms occurred among chemical workers, heated metal workers, and chemists. An excess of cirrhosis of the liver occurred among laundry and dry cleaning workers. The authors conclude that the most significant finding is the association of lung cancer with a large number of occupations for which there are reasonable hypotheses as to possible occupational carcinogens. Adjusting for smoking does not explain the large excesses of lung cancer.