The mortality of leather tannery (SIC-3111) workers was studied. The cohort included 2807 workers in tannery-A and 6558 workers in tannery-B employed from 1940 to 1979 and 1980, respectively. There were 5827 male and 2280 female workers. The mean age at hire was 27 years. The majority of workers had a minimum of 22 years of service. At tannery-A, 21 percent of the workers were employed 10 years or longer, at tannery-B this number was 8 percent. The total of 1582 deaths represented 89 percent of the expected number based on United States age adjusted mortality rate. The lower mortality was due to decreased risks from most causes. A significant elevation of mortality was found for accidents in tannery-A, and for alcoholism, liver cirrhosis, and suicide in tannery-B. The majority of deaths from cirrhosis occurred among those employed less than 1 year at tannery-B. Chronic alcoholism was a contributing cause. Most of the accidental deaths in tannery-A occurred among beamhouse workers. Half of the individuals who died from suicide worked less than 1 year at the tannery. Cancer death rates at both tanneries were below expected for both national and state rates. The authors conclude that there are no significantly increased risks for any causes of death believed to be related to occupation in tannery workers.
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