A study was conducted among 13,844 members of a meat-cutter's union, from July 1949 to December 1980, to examine cancer occurrence in the meat industry. Separate analyses were carried out for the whole group, and for subgroups defined by job-categories characteristic of the industry, including a control group. Mortality was compared with that of the United States through the estimation of standardized mortality ratios (SMR) and proportional mortality ratios. A statistically significant proportional mortality ratio of 2.9 was obtained for Hodgkin's disease among abattoir workers; the SMR of 2.2 was not significant. Among meat-packing plant workers, highly statistically significant SMRs were recorded for bone cancer, SMR = 9.6; cancer of the buccal cavity and pharynx, SMR = 3.4; and lung cancer, SMR = 1.9. The role of oncogenic viruses and other careinogenic exposures was investigated.
©1986 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine