A prospective study in the Australian petroleum industry. I. Mortality

D Christie, K Robinson, I Gordon, J Bisby
1991 Occupational and Environmental Medicine  
This paper reports the mortality experience of employees of the Australian petroleum industry from 1981 to 1989. Two surveys by personal interview incorporated more than 15 000 employees representing 92% of the eligible population. Subjects were included in the analysis after completing five years ofservice in the industry. At the time of this report the cohort does not include sufficiently large numbers of women for useful analysis; results presented are restricted to men. By 31 December 1989,
more » ... 76 529 person-years of observation had accumulated for male mortality with 241 deaths. The standardised mortality ratio (SMR) analysis showed a favourable mortality experience for most causes with overall cancer rates slightly lower than those of the national population. Whereas deficits were seen in some cancer sites, notably lung cancers (SMR 0.5, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0 3-0)8), mortality for lymphohaematopoietic cancers, notably leukaemia (SMR 1-6, 95% CI 0 6-3-4) suggested increased risk. The SMR for cancers ofthe pleura was 3-9 (95% CI 0-8-11). Two ofthe three cases seen had previous employment, however, in industries with likely exposure to asbestos. Although the petroleum industry has been the subject of many epidemiological investigations over the past 20 years, the relation between occupational exposure to hydrocarbons and the risk of cancer remains far from clear. Several reviews have been published in recent years;14 an increased risk of cancer at varying sites has been reported but no
doi:10.1136/oem.48.8.507 fatcat:htpqqoc4rzdn7mfb5qqrqpmh5e