Surviving members of occupational cohorts studied in retrospective analyses of mortality usually are not notified individually of positive study results. However, concern has arisen that such results may contain risk information pertinent to study subjects. To evaluate the effects and implications of individually notifying survivors of such cohorts, we conducted a pilot notification study. Members of a cohort of 1,385 chemical workers who had handled carcinogenic amines were notified by mail that they were likely to be at increased risk of bladder cancer. Also a bladder cancer screening and follow-up program was established. The study demonstrated that notification is a complex action and that much care needs to be taken when communicating information on risk. Notification requires development of (1) criteria as to what constitutes a notifiable risk and (2) programs to meet the medical and social needs of the various parties involved in notification.
©1985 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine