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Does low-level lead exposure increase risk of death? A mortality study of newspaper printers.
Michaels D; Zoloth SR; Stern FB
Int J Epidemiol 1991 Dec; 20(4):978-983
A study of mortality in newspaper printers was conducted to determine if the low level lead (7439921) exposures, typically below the United States standard of 50 micrograms per cubic meter, in the newspaper printing industry presented a risk for increased mortality. The cohort consisted of 1261 male typesetters employed at two large New York City newspapers who were members of Local 6 of the International Typographical Union on 1 January 1961. The subjects were followed until 31 December 1984, at which time their vital status was determined. Death certificates of the decedents were reviewed. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were computed using mortality rates for New York City as the reference. There were no significant nonmalignant or malignant causes of death in the cohort. Significant deficits were observed for mortality from all causes, arteriosclerotic heart disease, nonmalignant diseases of the digestive and respiratory systems, and accidents. Mortality from cancer of the buccal cavity and pharynx, prostate, bladder, and leukemia and aleukemia was nonsignificantly elevated, SMRs 1.14, 1.27, 1.51, and 1.04, respectively. When the data were analyzed by years of employment before 31 December 1976, only one significantly elevated SMR was detected. Mortality from cardiovascular disease for typesetters who had been employed for 30 or more years was significantly increased, SMR 1.68. The authors conclude that in general, the study population appears to be at little risk for occupational mortality. However, the finding of an elevated SMR for cardiovascular disease among persons with the longest duration of exposure suggests that typesetters occupationally exposed to lead were at increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
NIOSH-Author; Epidemiology; Mortality-data; Printing-industry; Risk-analysis; Heavy-metals; Occupational-exposure; Cardiovascular-disease
Issue of Publication
International Journal of Epidemiology
Page last reviewed: January 14, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division