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A Retrospective Epidemiological Study of Mortality at a Large Western Copper Smelter

Rencher, Alvin C. Ph.D.; Carter, Melvin W. Ph.D.; McKee, Daniel W. M.S.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 1977
Occupational Exposure to Chloromethyl Ethers: PDF Only

In comparing the smelter with the mine, concentrator, and State of Utah, it was found that they were very similar in the percentage of deaths due to all causes except lung cancer; 7.0% of all deaths at the smelter were due to lung cancer compared to 2.2% for the mine, 2.2% for the concentrator, and 2.7% for the state. The excess at the smelter was statistically significant.

Approximate age-adjusted death rates were obtained for various causes of death. The rates for the smelter are higher than for the mine and the state for lung cancer and for all causes combined. The average age at death for smelter workers is nearly the same as for mine employees, even for those who died of lung cancer.

Smoking data was examined and there was no indication of a smoking synergism. Cumulative exposure indices for SO2, H2SO4 mist, As, Pb, and Cu were computed for each deceased smelter worker based n the length of time he worked in each of 12 major areas. Those who died of lung cancer had the highest average exposure index for all five constituents.

Stack emission data showed much higher levels of As and SO2 prior to 1959.

©1977 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine