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Long-Term Health Experience of Jet Engine Manufacturing Workers: IX. Further Investigation of General Mortality Patterns in Relation to Workplace Exposures

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

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 6 - p 709–721
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318289eeba
Original Articles

Objective: To evaluate mortality rates among a cohort of jet engine manufacturing workers.

Methods: Subjects were 222,123 workers employed from 1952 to 2001. Vital status was determined through 2004 for 99% of subjects and cause of death for 95% of 68,317 deaths. We computed standardized mortality ratios and modeled internal cohort rates.

Results: Mortality excesses reported initially no longer met the criteria for further investigation. We found two chronic obstructive pulmonary disease–related mortality excesses that met the criteria in two of eight study plants.

Conclusions: At the total cohort level, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease–related categories were not related to any factors or occupational exposures considered. A full evaluation of these excesses was limited by lack of data on smoking history. Occupational exposures received outside of work or uncontrolled positive confounding by smoking cannot be ruled out as reasons for these excesses.

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

Address correspondence to: Ada O. Youk, PhD, Department of Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, (

Pratt & Whitney sponsored this research, but the design, conduct, analysis and conclusions are those of the authors.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine