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Mortality among a cohort of uranium mill workers: an update.
Pinkerton LE; Bloom TF; Hein MJ; Ward EM
Occup Environ Med 2004 Jan; 61(1):57-64
Aims: To evaluate the mortality experience of 1484 men employed in seven uranium mills in the Colorado Plateau for at least one year on or after 1 January 1940. Methods: Vital status was updated through 1998, and life table analyses were conducted. Results: Mortality from all causes and all cancers was less than expected based on US mortality rates. A statistically significant increase in non-malignant respiratory disease mortality and non-significant increases in mortality from lymphatic and haematopoietic malignancies other than leukaemia, lung cancer, and chronic renal disease were observed. The excess in lymphatic and haematopoietic cancer mortality was due to an increase in mortality from lymphosarcoma and reticulosarcoma and Hodgkin's disease. Within the category of non-malignant respiratory disease, mortality from emphysema and pneumoconioses and other respiratory disease was increased. Mortality from lung cancer and emphysema was higher among workers hired prior to 1955 when exposures to uranium, silica, and vanadium were presumably higher. Mortality from these causes of death did not increase with employment duration. Conclusions: Although the observed excesses were consistent with our a priori hypotheses, positive trends with employment duration were not observed. Limitations included the small cohort size and limited power to detect a moderately increased risk for some outcomes of interest, the inability to estimate individual exposures, and the lack of smoking data. Because of these limitations, firm conclusions about the relation of the observed excesses in mortality and mill exposures are not possible.
Mortality-rates; Mortality-data; Cancer; Cancer-rates; Uranium-ore; Milling-industry; Lymphatic-system-disorders; Lymphatic-cancer; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders
Dr L E Pinkerton, Epidemiology Section, Industrywide Studies Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, R-15, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Page last reviewed: October 16, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division