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Epidemiology. 1991 Jul;2(4):299-305.

Lung cancer risk among refractory brick workers exposed to crystalline silica: a retrospective cohort study.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro, Genova, Italy.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study among 1,022 refractory brick workers exposed to crystalline silica. Mortality from lung cancer (SMR = 1.77) and respiratory diseases (SMR = 3.15) was elevated in workers first employed less than or equal to 1957 who are likely to have shared the highest exposure to crystalline silica. Workers with at least 19 years of cumulative employment in the plant experienced particularly increased risks for lung cancer (SMR = 2.01) and respiratory diseases (SMR = 3.89). Relative mortality from these specific causes increased with years since first employment (that is, first exposure) and decreased with age at first employment. Indirect adjustment for smoking habits and the lack of excess mortality from cardiovascular diseases and emphysema indicated little effect of smoking on the increased risks for lung cancer and respiratory diseases.

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