Objective: To report a non-cancer mortality update in supermarket meat workers.
Methods: Mortality of 10,383 supermarket meat workers was compared with that of a control group of non-meat workers and the US population from 1949 to 1989.
Results: Compared with both controls, male supermarket meat workers had an elevated relative risk for diabetes. There is also a suggestion of an increase in deaths from ischemic heart disease, other diseases of the kidney and ureter, alcoholism, and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Women had elevated relative risks for chronic bronchitis and ischemic heart disease, and possibly alcoholism. Numbers were too small to interpret the apparent increase in deaths from intracranial and intraspinal abcesses and acute nephritis in men and peritonitis in women.
Conclusions: The role of occupational exposure to transmissible agents and exposure to fumes from the wrapping machine warrants further investigation.