Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1987;13(5):404-411    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2020

Mortality of tar distillation workers.

by Maclaren WM, Hurley JF

Two hundred and fifty-five British tar distillery workers were followed from 1 January 1967 to 31 December 1983. Seventy-five men had died by the end of the follow-up, compared with 73.3 deaths expected on the basis of age-specific regional population death rates. Excess mortality occurred from lung cancer (12 deaths, 7.5 expected), bladder cancer (3 deaths, 0.7 expected) and diseases of the arteries and veins (5 deaths, 2.1 expected). Although the number of deaths from ischemic heart disease was not significantly increased overall (29 deaths, 25.3 expected), eight deaths from this cause occurred among men under 55 years of age compared with 3.9 expected. Four small matched case-referent studies, comparing men who died from these four causes with survivors, failed to reveal any associations between excess mortality and job type. In the light of other studies, it is concluded that the excess lung and bladder cancer mortality was work-related, while the deaths from ischemic heart disease and diseases of the arteries and veins merit further investigation.