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Supplementary Documentation For An Environmental Impact Statement Regarding The Pantex Plant. Occupational Work Force Mortality Study.

Acquavella JF; Wiggs LD; Waxweiler RJ; MacDonell DG; Wilkinson GS
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, 1982 Dec:16 pages
Workforce mortality at a chemical high explosive fabrication and nuclear weapons assembly facility was examined. Personnel records of 3564 white males employed from 1951 to 1978 were examined. Cause and date of death were studied on death certificates, obtained for 96 percent of deceased subjects. Total and cause specific mortality among workers was evaluated by comparing the number of observed deaths with the number of expected deaths, based on US death rates, and expressed as the standardized mortality rate (SMR). Mortality of workers known to have received 1 rem cumulative radiation exposure was also studied. Of all workers studied, 269 or 7.5 percent were deceased. The average age of workers when hired was 32.1 years. Average age at termination was 40.1 years, although this tended to be older among workers hired when the facility had begun operation. Length of follow-up averaged 15.1 years for study subjects. Overall, SMRs were lower than expected for nearly every cause of death. In particular, death in the aggregate categories (all causes, all cancers, and circulatory disease) were significantly fewer than expected. Cause specific mortality from digestive cancer, lung cancer, arteriosclerotic heart disease, and digestive diseases also occurred significantly less frequently than expected. When cause specific mortality was analyzed by 5 year duration of employment categories, SMRs were less than 1.00 for the majority of the categories. For workers with 15 or more years of employment, SMR for all causes was 0.65. Among workers exposed to 1 rem, there were 6 observed deaths, where 16.5 were expected. The authors conclude there is no evidence that employment at this facility has affected the frequency or cause specific distribution of deaths. Mortality from major causes of death is not measurably increased by low level occupational radiation exposure. However, the majority of workers are still relatively young to have died from occupationally related chronic diseases.
Mortality-data; Radiation-exposure; Employee-exposure; Workplace-studies; Disease-incidence; Radiation-levels; Air-sampling; Dose-response; Industrial-medicine;
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Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, Report No. LA-9445-PNTX-Q, 16 pages, 16 references
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division