Analysis of the causes of death among workers employed in the manufacture of synthetic abrasive products was performed using data from death certificates and employment records. The subjects were 1,030 white male workers who had been employed by a single manufacturer and who were identified through a review of death certificates issued during a 20-year period. Proportional mortality analysis revealed excess digestive cancer and respiratory disease deaths. Personnel records permitted refinement of the study population to 968 with classification of each individual into one of seven employment categories. Case-control analysis of workers ever employed in the individual categories revealed elevated odds ratios for respiratory disease deaths among those most exposed to the synthetic abrasive dust. The excesses were greatest in those exposed 20 or more years. Excesses of esophageal and rectal cancers were noted in two manufacturing areas although the numbers were small. Review of the literature further supports the finding that synthetic abrasive exposures may be associated with elevated respiratory morbidity and mortality.
©1981 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine