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Occup Med (Lond). 1999 Aug;49(6):361-4.

Mortality among workers in an Italian cigarette factory.

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  • 1Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Lab. Igiene Ambientale, Roma, Italy.


A cohort study was conducted to evaluate the mortality pattern among female and male workers in a cigarette factory. The study followed 972 female workers and 761 male workers with at least 6 months of cumulative employment from 1 January 1962 through 1 July 1996. Among women, mortality from all causes of death [standardized mortality ratio (SMR) = 0.9; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.8-1.1] and mortality from all malignant neoplasms (SMR = 1.1; CI = 0.9-1.3) were consistent with reference rates. Male workers had a significantly reduced overall mortality (SMR = 0.8; CI = 0.7-0.9), while mortality from all malignant neoplasms was as expected (SMR = 0.9; CI = 0.7-1.0). Among female workers the frequencies of deaths from diseases of nervous system (SMR = 2.0; CI = 1.1-3.4) and from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) (SMR = 2.7; CI = 1.0-5.6) were elevated at a statistically significant level. No association between duration of employment and diseases of nervous system was observed. A higher risk for NHL, based on three deaths, was reported among female workers with 15 or more years of employment (SMR = 8.1; CI = 2.2-21.0). Although based on small numbers, the excess of NHL here reported suggests that potential exposure to foliar residues of pesticides should be thoroughly considered in tobacco manufacturing.

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