A retrospective cohort mortality study was conducted on workers at the Portsmouth Uranium Enrichment facility (SIC-1094) in Pike County, Ohio, in response to a request from the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Local 3-689 for information on long term health effects. Primary hazards included inhalation exposure to uranyl-fluoride (13536840) containing uranium-235 (15117961) and uranium-234 (13966295), technetium-99 (14133767) compounds, and hydrogen-fluoride (7664393). Uranium-238 (7440611) presented a nephrotoxic hazard. Analysis covered the period from September 1, 1954, to December 31, 1982. White males working for at least 1 week during this time were included (total 5,773). Statistically significant mortality deficits based on U.S. death rates were found for all causes, accidents, violence, and diseases of nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. Standardized mortality rates were 85 and 54 for all malignant neoplasms and for other genitourinary diseases, respectively. Deaths from stomach cancer and lymphatic/hematopoietic cancers were insignificantly increased. A subcohort selected for greatest potential uranium exposure had reduced deaths from these malignancies. Insignificantly increased stomach cancer mortality was found after 15 years employment and after 15 years latency. Routine urinalysis data suggested low internal uranium exposures. The authors conclude that there is no significant excess mortality among these workers.
NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 52 pages, 10 references