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Cancer Mortality Among Workers at a Satellite Manufacturing Facility

McLaughlin, Joseph K. PhD; Mumma, Michael T. MS; Sonderman, Jennifer S. MHS; Farnsworth, Eli P. BA; Lipworth, Loren ScD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 4 - p 427–433
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182116674
Original Articles

Objective: To assess risk of cancer overall and renal cancer in particular among workers at the Valley Forge satellite manufacturing complex.

Methods: A cohort of 29,504 workers, employed between 1962 and 2008 at the complex, was studied. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated.

Results: Overall, 6583 workers had died by December 31, 2008. Standardized mortality ratios for all causes of death (0.70) and for all cancers (0.79) were reduced. Forty-three deaths from kidney cancer were observed, below the 67.2 expected (SMR = 0.64; 95% CI = 0.46–0.86). The only significantly elevated SMR was for brain cancer (SMR = 1.34; 95% CI = 1.08–1.63; n = 95).

Conclusions: This study of 29,504 workers at the Valley Forge satellite complex over almost a 50-year span found no evidence of increased cancer mortality overall or from renal cancer, in particular. The unexpected finding for brain cancer warrants further investigation.

From the International Epidemiology Institute (Dr McLaughlin, Mr Mumma, Ms Sonderman, Mr Farnsworth), Rockville, Md; and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Dr McLaughlin, Dr Lipworth), Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, Tenn.

Address correspondence to: Dr Joseph K. McLaughlin, International Epidemiology Institute, 1455 Research Blvd, Ste 550, Rockville, MD 20850. E-mail:

This study was supported by a research grant from the Lockheed Martin Corporation. The results presented here represent the conclusions and opinions solely of the authors. Its publication does not imply endorsement by the Lockheed Martin Corporation. The study sponsors had no role in the study design, analysis or interpretation of the data, or in the writing, preparation, and submission of the manuscript. Dr McLaughlin had full access to all study data and had final responsibility to submit the manuscript for publication.

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine