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Mortality patterns among styrene-exposed boatbuilders.

Okun-AH; Beaumont-JJ; Meinhardt-TJ; Crandall-MS
Am J Ind Med 1985 Sep; 8(3):193-205
An epidemiological study was conducted on factory workers occupationally exposed to styrene (100425). The cohort consisted of 5,201 workers of two reinforced plastic boat building (SIC-3732) facilities, who had been employed during a 20 year period. Demographic data and work history information were obtained from personnel records. Industrial hygiene surveys were conducted at both facilities, and jobs and departments within the sites were classified according to magnitude of exposure. Based on this classification, the cohort was divided into high and minimal styrene exposure groups. The vital status of each worker was determined. Death certificates were used to obtain information on deaths. A NIOSH computer program was used to generate expected numbers of cause specific deaths based upon person years at risk for the cohort. Confounding variables such as age, race, sex, and calendar year were accounted for during the analysis. The majority of the person years at risk were accumulated at longer time periods and in the younger age groups; about 80 percent of the person years were accumulated for individuals under age 45. About 40 percent of the total cohort had worked at least 1 day in high styrene exposure jobs; a majority of them were white males. Employees who had worked in the fibrous glass or lamination departments had the highest styrene exposure. In boat assembly areas, exposure to styrene was minimal. There were 47 deaths among the high exposure group in relation to 41.5 deaths expected. The excess in overall mortality was not statistically significant. The authors conclude that despite the non significant increase in mortality among the workers in the high exposure group, the possibility of a chronic styrene effect cannot be ruled out. More information on older groups over a longer period of time may yield corroborative results.
NIOSH-Author; Mortality-data; Industrial-environment; Employees; Humans; Age-factors; Industrial-education; Quantitative-analysis; Job-analysis; Age-groups; Exposure-methods; Exposure-levels
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Journal Article
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Special Populations; Work Environment and Workforce
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American Journal of Industrial Medicine