The aim of this study was to update the analysis of mortality of a cohort of talc miners and millers in Northern Italy.
We analyzed the mortality during 1946 to 2013 of 1722 male workers in an asbestos-free talc mine (1166 miners and 556 millers) employed during 1946 to 1995.
The overall standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was 1.24 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.17 to 1.32]; no deaths were observed from pleural cancer; mortality from lung cancer was not increased. Mortality from pneumoconiosis was increased (SMR 26.62; 95% CI 20.71 to 33.69), in particular among miners, and was associated with duration of employment and time since first employment.
We confirmed the lack of association between exposure to asbestos-free talc, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Increased mortality from pneumoconiosis among miners is attributable to past exposure to silica.