Mortality patterns among electrical workers employed in the U.S. construction industry, 1982 - 1987.
Robinson-CF; Petersen-M; Palu-S
Am J Ind Med 1999 Dec; 36(6):630-637
Background: Studies of electrical workers in the utility and manufacturing industries have reported excess site-specific cancer. No previous studies of electrical workers in the construction industry have been conducted. Methods: Our study evaluated the mortality patterns of 31,068 U.S. members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers who primarily worked in the construction industry and died 1982-1987. Results: Comparison to the U.S. population by using the NIOSH life table showed significantly elevated proportionate mortality for many causes. Excess mortality for leukemia (proportionate mortality ratio (PMR)=115) and brain tumors (PMR=136) is similar to reports of electrical workers with occupational exposure to electric and magnetic fields in the electric utility or manufacturing industry. Excess deaths due to melanoma skin cancer (PMR=123) are consistent with findings of other PCB-exposed workers. A significantly elevated PMR was observed for the diseases caused by asbestos: lung cancer (PMR=117), asbestosis (PMR=247), and malignant mesothelioma (PMR=356) and from fatal injuries, particularly electrocutions (PMR=1180). The findings of statistically significant excess deaths for prostate cancer (PMR=107), musculoskeletal disease (PMR=130), suicide (PMR=113), and disorders of the blood-forming organs (PMR=141) were unexpected. Conclusions: Results suggest that more detailed investigations of occupational risk factors and evaluation of preventive practices are needed to prevent excess mortality in this hazardous occupation.
Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Statistical-analysis; Cancer-rates; Cancer; Electrical-industry; Electrical-shock; Electrical-workers; Electrocutions; Electromagnetic-fields; Electrical-fields; Mesothelial-cells; Brain-tumors; Brain-disorders; Brain-damage; Magnetic-fields; Blood-disorders; Injury-prevention; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Musculoskeletal-system; Prostate-cancer; Asbestosis; Skin-cancer; Construction-industry; Construction-workers;
Author Keywords: electrician; electrocution; mesothelioma; brain tumor; leukemia; magnetic field; blood disorders; injuries; indoor; outdoor
Cynthia F. Robinson, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, Mail Stop R-44, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
American Journal of Industrial Medicine