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Mortality of workers hired during World War II.
Am J Ind Med 1993 May; 23(5):823-827
Mortality among United States (US) industrial workers hired during World War-II was studied to test the hypothesis that US male workers hired during World War-II were more unhealthy than those who entered military service and would not show the typical healthy worker effect. Three cohorts consisting of 8,049 males hired before 1940 (pre World War-II), 13,276 males hired between 1940 and 1944 (World War-II), and 19,842 males hired between 1945 and 1954 (post World War-II) were assembled from NIOSH studies of workers in the automobile, leather, paper and pulp production, shipbuilding, and chemical industries. The cohorts were followed until the end of 1989 and mortality was reviewed. Standard mortality ratios (SMRs) for total mortality and mortality from all cancers, lung cancer, ischemic heart disease, stroke, rheumatic heart disease, nonmalignant respiratory disease from external causes, alcoholism, cirrhosis, and diabetes were computed using mortality rates for the US general male population as the reference. Mortality from all causes and most specific causes were similar in the three cohorts. Mortality from nonmalignant respiratory disease tended to increase with year of hire; however, all SMRs were below 1. The author concludes that the study does not support the hypothesis that workers hired during World War-II were less healthy than those hired before or after the war.
NIOSH-Author; Epidemiology; Mortality-data; Worker-health; Occupational-medicine; Health-survey; Chemical-industry-workers; Shipyard-workers; Industrial-factory-workers; Author Keywords: healthy worker effect; military service; unhealthy WWII worker effect
Kyle Steenland, PhD, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Mailstop R13, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division