Scand J Work Environ Health 1978;4 suppl 2:240-246    pdf | Issue date: 1978

Epidemiologic investigations of styrene-butadiene rubber production and reinforced plastics production.

by Meinhardt TJ, Young RJ, Hartle RW

The United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) began an epidemiologic study of workers employed in the styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) industry during 1976. This study was prompted by reports of relatively high numbers of leukemia deaths occurring within SBR production work populations. Simultaneous with the initiation of this investigation, the University of North Carolina released a report associating an excess risk of death due to hematopoietic and lymphatic malignancies among workers producing several synthetic rubbers, including SBR. This report presents NIOSH`s preliminary mortality observations and a discussion of progress made on the analyses of contaminants found in two SBR production facilities. Currently, NIOSH is determining the feasibility of doing an epidemiologic study in the reinforced plastics industry. Interest in this study developed as part of an effort to determine health hazards associated with occupational exposure to styrene. Most of the technology for the reinforced plastics industry developed in the 1950s, and therefore this process represents a relatively new industry. This report also includes information on environmental conditions observed in the reinforced plastics industry and enumerates some of the complicating characteristics of this industry which increase the complexity of this study.