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Long-Term Health Experience of Jet Engine Manufacturing Workers: VIIOccupational Exposures

Kennedy, Kathleen J. MS; Esmen, Nurtan A. PhD; Hancock, Roger P. MCE; Lacey, Steven E. PhD; Marsh, Gary M. PhD; Buchanich, Jeanine M. PhD; Youk, Ada O. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 6 - p 676–689
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182717e8f
Original Articles

Objective: To reconstruct agent-specific occupational exposures for a cohort of jet engine manufacturing workers for use in an epidemiological mortality study.

Methods: Potential chemical and physical exposures at eight jet engine manufacturing and overhaul/repair plants were evaluated for the period 1952 to 2001. Eleven agents were selected for detailed examination, and a job-exposure matrix was constructed.

Results: Quantitative exposure estimates were generated for metalworking fluids, nickel, cobalt, chromium, solvents, and incomplete combustion aerosol from metalworking fluids. Qualitative exposure estimates were assigned for ionizing radiation, electromagnetic fields, polychlorinated biphenyls, and lead–cadmium. All exposures showed decreasing trends over the study period.

Conclusions: The quantitative exposure levels generated in this study were lower than early contemporaneous professional practice recommendations and were similar to or lower than published data from other industries.

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From the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Science, Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, In (Dr Lacey); Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (Ms Kennedy, Dr Esmen, and Mr Hancock), School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Il; and Department of Biostatistics (Drs Marsh, Buchanich, and Youk), Center for Occupational Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Penn.

Address correspondence to: Kathleen J. Kennedy, MS, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612 (

The University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh received funding from Pratt & Whitney for this research, but the design, conduct, analysis, and conclusions are those of the authors.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine