This study was initiated due to concern about radiation and chemical exposures to workers at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) as a consequence of the production of enriched uranium. The objective was to determine if workers had a higher mortality rate, most notably cancer than the general population. The cohort includes 6820 workers employed at the plant for a minimum of 30 days for the time period 1952-2003. All-cause mortality was the outcome of interest Expected death rates in the U.S. were compared to deaths in the cohort to produce standard mortality ratios with 95% confidence intervals. Overall mortality for the cohort was significantly less than the general United States population (SMR=0.73; 95% CI=0.6988-0.7696), as was the "all-cancer" mortality rate (SMR=0.77; 95% CI=0.6999-0.8423) emphasizing the strong healthy worker effect. Individual cancer mortality reflected non-significant elevations for neoplasms of lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue (SMR=1.16), to include non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SMR=1.42), leukemia (SMR=1.05) and multiple myeloma (SMR=1.01). Non-significant elevations were also noted for cancer of the pancreas (SMR=1.09), and brain cancer in white males (SMR=1.02). In addition, cancer of the pleura (SMR=1.76), mesothelioma (SMR=1.10), and cancer of the buccal cavity and pharynx in women (SMR=2.77) were non-significantly elevated, but were based on low numbers. Excesses in mortality were observed for deaths related to "other" mental disorders and suicides. A non-significant elevated mortality rate for "other" mental disorders showed a SMR of 1.09 and suicide rates showed significant and non-significant excesses in mortality when stratified by year and age. Significant elevations were noted in the 1970s (SMR=2.19 p<.05) and in the 40-44 year age group (SMR=8.12 p<.05). Non-significant elevated mortality rates were noted for ages 35-54 in each of the five-year increments for the entire study period 1953-2003. This analysis is helpful for describing the PGDP cohort mortality profile relative to the norm and can assist with associations that warrant more investigation. This study has provided further evidence in support of radiation and chemical exposures and its association with hematopoietic cancers. Other cancers and causes of death warranting further investigation are pleura cancer, buccal cavity/pharynx cancer in women, brain cancer, suicides, and depression.
Uranium-compounds; Cancer; Mortality-rates; Mortality-data; Morbidity-rates; Workers; Work-environment; Worker-health; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Humans; Men; Women; Environmental-health; Environmental-hazards; Radiation-exposure; Neoplasms; Tissue-culture; Lymphatic-system; Hematopoietic-system; Leukemogenesis; Brain-function; Age-groups