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Am J Ind Med. 1999 Dec;36(6):630-7.

Mortality patterns among electrical workers employed in the U.S. construction industry, 1982-1987.

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1
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226, USA. CFR2@CDC.GOV

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Studies of electrical workers in the utility and manufacturing industries have reported excess site-specific cancer. No previous studies of electrical workers in the construction industry have been conducted.

METHODS:

Our study evaluated the mortality patterns of 31,068 U.S. members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers who primarily worked in the construction industry and died 1982-1987.

RESULTS:

Comparison to the U.S. population by using the NIOSH life table showed significantly elevated proportionate mortality for many causes. Excess mortality for leukemia (proportionate mortality ratio (PMR)=115) and brain tumors (PMR=136) is similar to reports of electrical workers with occupational exposure to electric and magnetic fields in the electric utility or manufacturing industry. Excess deaths due to melanoma skin cancer (PMR=123) are consistent with findings of other PCB-exposed workers. A significantly elevated PMR was observed for the diseases caused by asbestos: lung cancer (PMR=117), asbestosis (PMR=247), and malignant mesothelioma (PMR=356) and from fatal injuries, particularly electrocutions (PMR=1180). The findings of statistically significant excess deaths for prostate cancer (PMR=107), musculoskeletal disease (PMR=130), suicide (PMR=113), and disorders of the blood-forming organs (PMR=141) were unexpected.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results suggest that more detailed investigations of occupational risk factors and evaluation of preventive practices are needed to prevent excess mortality in this hazardous occupation. Am. J. Ind. Med. 36:630-637, 1999. Published 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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