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Mortality Patterns Among Workers Exposed to Acrylamide: Updated Follow Up

Marsh, Gary M. PhD; Youk, Ada O. PhD; Buchanich, Jeanine M. MPH; Kant, I Jmert PhD; Swaen, Gerard PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2007 - Volume 49 - Issue 1 - p 82-95
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31802db536
Original Articles

Objective: The objective of this study was to update the mortality experience of a cohort of workers with and without potential exposure to acrylamide (AMD) at three U.S. plants (n = 8508) and one plant in The Netherlands (n = 344).

Methods: We computed standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) using national and local rates and modeled internal cohort rates to assess site-specific cancer risks by demographic and work history factors and several exposure indicators for AMD.

Results: For the 1925–2002 study period, we observed both deficit and excess overall mortality risks among the U.S. cohort for cancer sites implicated in experimental animal studies: brain and other central nervous system (SMR = 0.67, confidence interval [CI] = 0.40–1.05), thyroid gland (SMR = 1.38, CI = 0.28–4.02), testis and other male genital organs (SMR = 0.64, CI = 0.08–2.30); and for sites selected in earlier exploratory analyses of this cohort: respiratory system cancer (RSC) (SMR = 1.17, CI = 1.06–1.27), esophagus (SMR = 1.20, CI = 0.86–1.63), rectum (SMR = 1.25, CI = 0.84–1.78), pancreas (SMR = 0.94, CI = 0.70–1.22), and kidney (SMR = 1.01, CI = 0.66–1.46). Except for RSC, attributed earlier to muriatic acid exposure, none of the mortality excesses was statistically significant. In the Dutch cohort, we observed deficits in deaths for all sites of a priori interest. An updated analysis of our previous exploratory findings for pancreatic cancer in the U.S. cohort revealed much less evidence of a possible exposure–response relationship with AMD.

Conclusion: AMD exposure at the levels present in our study sites was not associated with elevated cancer mortality risks.

From the Department of Biostatistics (Dr Marsh, Dr York, Ms Buchanich), Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the Department of Epidemiology (Mr Kant), Faculty of Medicine, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands; and Dow Chemical Company, Epidemiology Department, Health Services (Dr Swaen), Terneuzen, The Netherlands.

Address correspondence to: Gary M. Marsh, PhD, A-410 Crabtree Hall, GSPH, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261; E-mail:

©2007The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine