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Non-Cancer Mortality in Supermarket Meat Workers

Johnson, Eric S. PhD; Zhou, Yi MS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2007 - Volume 49 - Issue 8 - p 846-852
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3180cac1f1
Original Articles

Objective: To report a non-cancer mortality update in supermarket meat workers.

Methods: Mortality of 10,383 supermarket meat workers was compared with that of a control group of non-meat workers and the US population from 1949 to 1989.

Results: Compared with both controls, male supermarket meat workers had an elevated relative risk for diabetes. There is also a suggestion of an increase in deaths from ischemic heart disease, other diseases of the kidney and ureter, alcoholism, and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Women had elevated relative risks for chronic bronchitis and ischemic heart disease, and possibly alcoholism. Numbers were too small to interpret the apparent increase in deaths from intracranial and intraspinal abcesses and acute nephritis in men and peritonitis in women.

Conclusions: The role of occupational exposure to transmissible agents and exposure to fumes from the wrapping machine warrants further investigation.

From the Department of Epidemiology (Dr Johnson, Mr Zhou) University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas; and Department of Epidemiology (Dr Zhou) Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Address correspondence to: Eric S. Johnson, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76107; E-mail:

©2007The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine