Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1993;19(2):89-95    pdf


Mortality of workers employed in shoe manufacturing.

by Walker JT, Bloom TF, Stern FB, Okun AH, Fingerhut MA, Halperin WE

A retrospective cohort mortality study was conducted among 7814 white shoe manufacturing workers followed from 1940 through 1982. The workers were potentially exposed to solvents (including toluene) and solvent-based adhesives. Benzene may have been present as an impurity of toluene. Mortality due to leukemia and aleukemia was not statistically significantly elevated. Statistically significant excess mortality due to cancer of the trachea, bronchus and lung was observed in the total cohort [standardized mortality ratio (SMR) 147, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 120-180] and showed a statistically significant trend in standardized relative risk with increasing potential latency, but not with increasing duration of employment. Chronic nonmalignant respiratory disease was significantly elevated among the men (SMR 158, 95% CI 114-217) but was less than expected among the women (SMR 79), a finding suggesting a possible contribution of smoking to the mortality from respiratory cancer. However, adjustment for the potential effects of smoking did not completely eliminate the increased risk for lung cancer.