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Scand J Work Environ Health. 1994 Oct;20(5):331-8.

Mortality of filling station attendants.

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National Health Institute, Rome, Italy.



Gasoline contains established human carcinogens, such as benzene. The health impact of exposure to this fuel, however, has not been fully elucidated. We report on the mortality of a cohort of 2665 filling station managers from the Latium region (Italy).


This is the first workplace-based cohort of gas station attendants. However, only self-employed individuals were available for study (about 50% of the whole work force). The follow-up period extended from 1981 through 1992. The mortality experience of the cohort was compared with that of the regional population.


The overall analysis for standardized mortality ratios (SMR) showed a significantly decreased mortality from all causes, mainly due to a deficit of cardiovascular diseases and malignant neoplasms. Nonsignificantly increased risks for esophageal cancer [SMR 241, 90% confidence interval (90% CI) 82-551], brain cancer (SMR 195, 90% CI 77-401) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SMR 173, 90% CI 47-448) were found for the men; mortality due to lung cancer and leukemia was lower than expected, and no kidney cancer death was recorded. Among the attendants of small stations (characterized by a small number of employees and high sales of gasoline per full-time employee), the SMR values for esophageal cancer (for men SMR 351, 90% CI 120-803) and brain cancer (for men and women SMR 266, 90% CI 105-559) showed increased values.


Filling station attendants are exposed to gasoline vapors and seem at risk of cancer of various sites. Due to the power limitations of this study, however, a precise estimate of the risk for many causes of death was not achievable. Further cohort studies of greater size are warranted.

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