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Cancer Mortality Among Aircraft Manufacturing Workers: An Extended Follow-Up

Lipworth, Loren ScD; Sonderman, Jennifer S. MHS; Mumma, Michael T. MS; Tarone, Robert E. PhD; Marano, Donald E. PE; Boice, John D. Jr ScD; McLaughlin, Joseph K. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 9 - p 992–1007
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31822e0940
Original Articles

Objective: Extended cancer follow-up among 77,943 aircraft workers.

Methods: Comprehensive exposure information enabled detailed classification of trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), mixed solvents, and chromates exposure among these workers.

Results: Exposure to TCE, PCE, mixed solvents or chromates was not associated with increased cancer risk overall or for most cancer sites. Elevated rates compared with the general population were seen for non-Hodgkin lymphoma for PCE exposure, and colon and testicular cancers and multiple myeloma for mixed solvents exposure. Internal cohort analyses, however, showed no significant trends of increasing risk for these cancers with increasing years of exposure to TCE, PCE or mixed solvents.

Conclusion: This large, long-term cohort study with comprehensive exposure assessment found no consistent evidence of increased cancer risk overall or by site among aircraft workers, including those with long-term exposure to TCE, PCE, and mixed solvents.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

From the International Epidemiology Institute (Drs Lipworth, Tarone, Boice and McLaughlin, Ms Sonderman, and Mr Mumma), Rockville, Md; Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (Drs Lipworth, Tarone, Boice, and McLaughlin), Nashville, Tenn; IHI Environmental (Mr Marano), Salt Lake City, Utah.

Address correspondence to: Loren Lipworth, ScD, International Epidemiology Institute, 1455 Research Blvd, Suite 550, Rockville, MD 20850 (

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.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine