To evaluate mortality due to lung cancer, silicosis, renal cancer, renal disease and other causes among German porcelain production workers potentially exposed to crystalline silica.
Seventeen thousand six hundred forty-four medical surveillance participants (1985–1987) were followed through 2005 for mortality. Cause-specific Standardized Mortality Ratios (SMR) and 95% confidence intervals were estimated.
Women (SMR = 0.85; 95% CI = 0.78 to 0.93), but not men, demonstrated a healthy worker effect. Lung and renal cancers, and renal disease (non-malignant renal disease) were not associated with employment or exposure surrogates. Mortality was increased from silicosis (SMR = 7.20; 95% CI = 2.32 to 16.8) liver (SMR = 1.99; 95% CI = 1.29 to 2.93) and pancreatic (SMR = 1.71; 95% CI = 1.18 to 2.41) cancers among men, and diabetes among women (SMR = 1.74; 95% CI = 1.07 to 2.65). A sub-cohort of Bavarian workers generated similar but generally higher SMRs.
Silicosis mortality was increased in this, among the largest studies to date. However, associations previously observed between crystalline silica exposure and renal or lung cancers or non-malignant renal disease were not supported.
From Environ Germany GmbH (Mr Birk), Essen, Germany; Environ International Corporation (Dr Mundt, Mr Parsons, Ms Luippold), Amherst, Mass; and Berufsgenossenschaft der keramischen und Glas-Industrie (Dr Guldner), Wuerzburg, Germany.
Address correspondence to: Thomas Birk, Dipl rer soc, Environ Germany GmbH, Herbrueggenstrasse 106, 45359 Essen; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.