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Mortality among workers exposed to ethylene oxide.
Steenland-K; Stayner-L; Greife-A; Halperin-W; Hayes-R; Hornung-R; Nowlin-S
N Engl J Med 1991 May; 324(20):1402-1407
A study was undertaken of the mortality of 18,254 workers exposed to ethylene-oxide (75218) (EtO) for at least 3 months in 14 industrial facilities. Facilities were engaged in sterilizing medical supplies, treating spices, and testing sterilizers. Female workers accounted for 55% of the cohort. Vital status was followed up through 1987. There were 12,734 person years at risk for those with more than 7 years exposure and over 20 years of potential latency. Death certificates were available for 1137 of the 1177 who were confirmed to have died. The average level of exposure to EtO for a sterilizer operator from 1976 through 1983 was 4.3 parts per million (ppm). The corresponding figure for other workers was 2.0ppm. There were no significant increases in mortality for any cause in the study cohort. The standardized mortality ratio was 0.97 for leukemia, 1.06 for all hematopoietic cancers, and 0.94 for stomach cancer. The duration of exposure showed no excess in cancers but there was a significant trend toward increased mortality with increasing lengths of time since the first exposure for all hematopoietic cancers. Mortality from leukemia in recent years was significantly increased among men.
Mortality-surveys; Occupational-exposure; Sex-factors; Epidemiology; Cancer-rates; Carcinogens; Risk-factors; Leukemogenesis; Humans
Issue of Publication
New England Journal of Medicine
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division