Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1988;14(3):197-200    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1931

Mortality and cancer incidence among marine engineers and machinists in Iceland.

by Rafnsson V, Johannesdottir SG, Oddsson H, Benediktsson H, Tulinius H, Magnusson G

A retrospective cohort study of mortality and cancer morbidity was carried out among 295 marine engineers and 182 machinists with special regard to cancer of the lung. The cohort was defined as all graduates from engineering and machinists school in Iceland during 1936-1955. During vocational training, as well as in their professional lives, marine engineers and machinists are exposed to asbestos, different kinds of mineral oils, and exhaust gases with marked individual variation as regards mode and magnitude of exposure. For deaths occurring between 1951 and 1982 information was obtained from the Statistical Bureau of Iceland. Significantly increased standardized mortality ratios were determined for cancer of the trachea, bronchus, and lung for the entire cohort. Record linkage with the Cancer Register revealed 36 cancers in the period 1955-1982. No statistically significant excess was found for the overall cancer incidence or for the incidence of cancer at any particular site. A special survey of smoking status showed that cigarette smoking was not as common among the subjects of the cohort as among the general male population in Reykjavik. These results support the suggestion that the increased mortality of lung cancer in the study group had a causal relationship to occupational exposure, particularly to asbestos exposure.