Mortality among workers exposed to coal tar pitch volatiles and welding emissions: an exercise in epidemiologic triage.
Silverstein M; Maizlish N; Park R; Mirer F
Am J Public Health 1985 Nov; 75(11):1283-1287
A survey of mortality in workers exposed to coal-tar-pitch (61789604) volatiles and welding fumes was conducted. The cohort consisted of all members of a United Automobile Workers union local ever employed at a metal stamping factory near Kalamazoo, Michigan, who died between January 1, 1966 and December 31, 1982. The number of deaths was determined by a procedure that linked union pension records with the State of Michigan computerized death registry. Standardized proportionate mortality ratios (PMRs) were calculated. Company air monitoring data was reviewed. Personnel records were obtained for some of the deceased subjects. Ninety eight deaths were found. Death certificates were found for 94. Of these, 91 were white males, 2 black males, and 1 white female. The overall mortality due to cancer was nearly twice that expected, PMR 189. Two to 5 fold excess proportional mortality from cancer of the digestive organs, lung cancer, and leukemia accounted for most of the overall cancer excess. Strong associations were found between lung and digestive organ cancer and employment as maintenance welders or millwrights. High concentrations of airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, on the order of 1 to 500 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3), were found during coal-tar application to wood block floors. These were substantially reduced when new tar pots were introduced, the concentrations now ranging from nondetectable to health decision making is discussed.
Lung-irritants; Occupational-exposure; Health-standards; Gas-detectors; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Lung-lesions; Toxicology; Industrial-hazards
Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH, UAW Health and Safety Department, 8000 E. Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48214
American Journal of Public Health