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Cohort Mortality Study of Capacitor Manufacturing Workers, 1944–2000

Mallin, Katherine PhD; McCann, Ken MA; D’Aloisio, Aimee MS; Freels, Sally PhD; Piorkowski, Julie MPH; Dimos, John MS, CIH; Persky, Victoria MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2004 - Volume 46 - Issue 6 - p 565-576
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000128156.24767.12

A mortality study of workers employed between 1944 and 1977 at an electrical capacitor manufacturing plant where polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorinated naphthalenes, and other chemicals were used was undertaken. Age, gender, and calendar year-adjusted standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated for 2885 white workers. Total mortality and all-cancer mortality were similar to expected in both males and females. Females employed 10 or more years had a significantly elevated SMR of 6.2 for liver/biliary cancer. Intestinal cancer was significantly elevated in females employed 5 or more years after PCBs were introduced (SMR = 2.2). In males, stomach cancer (SMR = 2.2) and thyroid cancer (SMR = 15.2) were significantly elevated. Although individual exposure assessment was limited, PCBs alone or in combination with other chemicals could be associated with increased risks for liver/biliary, stomach, intestinal, and thyroid cancer.

From the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health; Division of Epidemiology–Biostastics Health, Chicago, Illinois (Ms Piorkowski, Drs Mallin, Persky, and Freels); Division of Environmental Health (Mr Dimos); Illinois Department of Public Health, Springfield, Illinois (Mr McCann); and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Ms D’Aloisio).

Address correspondence to: Katherine Mallin, PhD, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1603 W. Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612; E-mail address:

©2004The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine