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Mortality Patterns Among Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant Workers

Chan, Caroline MPH; Hughes, Therese S. PhD; Muldoon, Susan PhD, MPH; Aldrich, Tim PhD, MPH; Rice, Carol PhD; Hornung, Richard DrPH; Brion, Gail PhD, MS; Tollerud, David J. MD, MPH, FACOEM

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 7 - p 725-732
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181e48ee0
Original Articles

Objective: To determine whether Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant workers had mortality patterns that differed from the general US population and to investigate whether mortality patterns were associated with job title or workplace exposures.

Methods: A retrospective occupational cohort mortality study was conducted on 6759 workers. Standardized mortality ratio analyses compared the cohort with the referent US population. Internal comparisons producing standardized rate ratios were conducted by job title, metal exposure, and cumulative internal and external radiation exposures.

Results: Overall mortality and cancer rates were lower than the referent population, reflecting a strong healthy worker effect. Individual not significant standardized mortality ratios and standardized rate ratios were noted for cancers of the lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue.

Conclusions: Although relatively low exposures to radiation and metals did not produce statistically significant health effects, no significant elevations for lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers were consistent with previous studies of nuclear workers.


From the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (Ms Chan, Dr Tollerud), School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky; US Department of Health and Human Services (Dr Hughes), Office of the Secretary/Office of Global Health Affairs, Washington, DC; Department of Epidemiology and Population Health (Dr Muldoon), School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky; Department of Biostatistics & Epidemiology, School of Public Health (Dr Aldrich), East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tenn; Department of Environmental Health, Division of Environmental & Occupational Hygiene (Dr Rice), University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio; Department of Biostatistics & Data Management (Dr Hornung), Division of General and Community Pediatric Research, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; and Department of Civil Engineering (Dr Brion), College of Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.

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Address correspondence to: Caroline Chan, MPH, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, 485 East Gray Street, Louisville, KY 40202; E-mail:

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine