The use of records from four hospitals to maintain surveillance of the health of present and former workers in sawmill, millwork, and logging industries was investigated. During a one year period, a total of 9612 male patients, 18 years of age or older, were discharged from the four study hospitals and records for 7906 were entered into the data for the investigation. Increased risks for leukemias, gastrointestinal conditions including gastric ulcers, gastritis, and intestinal disorders plus musculoskeletal conditions such as joint disorders, spondylosis, and rheumatism were found in patients with sawmill exposure. Also increased in this group of patients was the incidence of hernias, influenza, and certain types of mental disorders. Workers currently employed in sawmills showed significantly increased risks of mononeuritis and acute upper respiratory infections. Those individuals with a history of millwork had increased risks for rheumatism, intervertebral disc disorders, and diseases of the ear. Current mill workers exhibited proportionately more acute respiratory infections. Logging experience had increased risks for gastric ulcers, hernias, spondylosis, disc disorders, and open wounds. The authors conclude that, as long as the limitations of the data are realized, the procedures used in this study have validity and utility for occupational health monitoring.
University of Utah Research Institute, Salt Lake City, Utah, NIOSH Contract No. 210-78-0066, 139 pages, 37 references