To assess potential health risks associated with work in a large motion picture film-processing facility.
A retrospective cohort mortality study was conducted during 1960–2000 among 2646 film workers. Job family categories, created from detailed employee work history information, were used to evaluate chemical exposure patterns.
Overall mortality was as expected (standardized mortality ratio [SMR] = 1.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0–1.2). Statistically significant associations were found for suicides (SMR = 2.0; 95% CI = 1.2–3.0) among the hourly workers and AIDS (SMR = 5.3; 95% CI = 1.7–12.3) among the administrative workers. Film developers had increases of respiratory cancer (SMR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.1–3.0) and suicides (SMR = 2.4; 95% CI = 1.0–4.7), whereas film assemblers had an increase in suicides (SMR = 2.4; 95% CI = 1.2–4.4) only.
Excess deaths resulting from suicides and AIDS among the workforce suggest that nonoccupational influences may be involved in the mortality of this cohort and warrant further investigations.