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Am J Ind Med. 1994 Nov;26(5):585-95.

Lung cancer mortality in a French cohort of hard-metal workers.

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Département de Pneumologie et d'Epreuves Fonctionnelles Respiratoires, Hôpital Bretonneau, C.H.R.U. de Tours, France.


A cohort mortality study was carried out among workers of a plant producing hard metals using cobalt as a binder. This study was aimed at assessing possible lung cancer risks in relation with cobalt exposure. Seven hundred nine male workers with at least 1 year of employment were included in the cohort and followed for mortality from 1956 to 1989. Job histories were provided by the administration of the plant, whereas smoking habits were collected from medical records and by interview. The causes of deaths were ascertained from hospital and general practitioner records. The observed numbers of deaths (obs) were compared with the expected based on national rates with adjustment for age, sex, and calendar time (standardized mortality ratio; SMR). The overall mortality did not differ from that expected (obs = 75, SMR = 1.05), whereas mortality due to lung cancer was in significant excess (obs = 10, SMR = 2.13). This excess was higher among workers employed in the areas with the highest exposure (obs = 6, SMR = 5.03). No trend was observed, however, with duration of employment or time since first employment. Smoking data were available for 81% of the workers and 69% of the deceased and showed that smoking alone does not account for these lung cancer excesses, yet, because of the small numbers involved, no firm conclusion should be drawn from this study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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