The toxicities of talc (14807966) free asbestiform minerals and free silica were examined in miners and millers. Workers employed in the Vermont talc industry between 1940 and 1969 and workers that had been employed at least 1 year before 1969 were included in the study. Occupational and demographic data were obtained from survey records of the State Health Department and the companies to permit vital status followup. Only 1 percent of the study cohort was lost to observation. A modified life table technique was used to obtain person years of observation by 5 year calendar time periods. A total of 90 deaths occurred among all talc workers from 1940 to 1975. The expected number was 77.3. An excess of mortality occurred in the non malignant respiratory disease category. A significant increase in respiratory cancer mortality was observed only among miners. Analysis of both airborne dust samples and talc bulk samples showed talc from all locations in the mines and mills to be similar in composition. Cumulative dust exposure for millers was higher than for miners. The differences noted in observed versus expected nonmalignant respiratory deaths in the mining and milling populations were consistent with a talc exposure etiology. Radiographic evidence supported the role of talc exposure in the etiology of nonmalignant respiratory disease. The authors suggest that additional etiologic agents, either alone or in combination with talc dust, affect mine workers. The possible role of radon (10043922) daughter exposure for this cancer mortality risk cannot be eliminated.
Journal of Environmental Pathology and Toxicology. Toxicological and Carcinogenic Health Hazards in the Workplace: proceedings of the First Annual NIOSH Scientific Symposium, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 1978
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