Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1990;16(4):247-251    pdf


Mortality of cellulose fiber production workers.

by Lanes SF, Cohen A, Rothman KJ, Dreyer NA, Soden KJ

Mortality was studied among 1271 employees of a cellulose fiber production plant in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in the United States. Each subject was employed for at least three months between 1 January 1954 and 1 January 1977 in jobs that entailed exposure to the highest concentrations of methylene chloride. In the cohort 122 deaths were identified through 1 September 1986, and mortality rates for the cohort were compared with mortality rates for York County, South Carolina. Deficit mortality was observed for cancers of the respiratory system, breast, and pancreas and from ischemic heart disease. Excess mortality was observed for cancers of the buccal cavity and pharynx and the liver and biliary tract, and for melanoma as well. The largest relative excess was for liver and biliary tract cancers. There were only four deaths in this category; however, three of the four deaths were cancer of the biliary tract (3 observed, 0.15 expected, standardized mortality ratio 20).