Preliminary findings of a case/control study of lung cancer near a zinc smelter were presented. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the relative contributions of occupation, smoking, and environmental pollutants to lung cancer risk in an industrialized area. The cohort consisted of 497 persons, 335 males, residents of Northampton, Lehigh, and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania, who died of lung cancer from 1974 through 1977. A large zinc smelter and steel production facility were located in the three county area. The referents consisted of 447 persons, 336 males, who died of causes other than lung disease and suicide. Information on occupational history and smoking was obtained from the next of kin. Lifetime residential histories were constructed for each subject. The lung cancer cases started smoking at an earlier age than the referents. Females started smoking approximately 5 years later than the males. The risk of lung cancer in males was significantly correlated with the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day. A less consistent increased risk was seen for female smokers. The lung cancer risk was elevated in subjects who worked in the steel, smelter, transportation, manufacturing, and chemical manufacturing industries. The greatest risk occurred in subjects who worked for at least 15 years in the steel or smelter industry. A discussion of the study was included.
Proceedings of the Second NCI/EPA/NIOSH Collaborative Workshop: Progress on Joint Environmental and Occupational Cancer Studies, September 9-11, 1981, Rockville, Maryland