Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1987;13(1):18-25    pdf


Mortality and disability among granite workers.

by Koskela RS, Klockars M, Jarvinen E, Kolari PJ, Rossi A

The objective of the present study was to investigate the mortality, disability, and long-term morbidity of granite workers. The study included 1,026 workers hired between 1940 and 1971 and followed until the end of 1981. The total number of deaths was 235, and the expected number was 229.7. Excess mortality rates were observed for respiratory diseases (observed/expected = 28/13.9). The number of tumor deaths was 46 (expected 44.9). Excess lung cancer mortality was evident at 15 to 35 years of latency; the observed number of lung cancer deaths for the follow-up period of 25 to 29 years was 8, while 2.1 were expected. Mortality from cardiovascular diseases and violent deaths was slightly less than expected. The results for disability and long-term morbidity showed elevated incidence and prevalence rates for respiratory diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. The observed number of disability pensions due to rheumatoid arthritis in 1981 was 10 observed versus 1.8 expected, and the observed number of patients granted free medication was 19 versus 8.1 expected. The results indicate that granite dust exposure per se may be an etiologic and pathogenetic factor for lung cancer, cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, and some extrapulmonary nonmalignant chronic diseases.