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Insulation workers in Belfast. 3. Mortality 1940-66
  1. P. C. Elmes,
  2. Marion J. C. Simpson
  1. Department of Therapeutics and Pharmacology, Queen's University, Belfast

    Abstract

    Elmes, P. C., and Simpson, Marion J. C. (1971).Brit. J. industr. Med.,28, 226-236. Insulation workers in Belfast. 3. Mortality 1940-66. One hundred and seventy men were identified as making up the total population of insulation workers in Belfast in 1940. This is an analysis of all the information about deaths that has emerged from tracing these men up to the end of 1966. Five remain untraced, and the mortality experience of the remainder is compared with that of other men in Northern Ireland over the period. There were 98 deaths when only 37 were expected. The number of deaths occurring exceeded those expected throughout the period 1940-66 and the increase was statistically significant during the period 1950-55 and onwards. There was an especially high mortality (compared with other Northern Ireland males) due to cancer of the lung, mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum, cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, and fibrotic lesions of the lungs. The ratio of observed over expected deaths was 2·6 for all causes, 3·9 for all cancers, and 17·6 for cancers of the lower respiratory tract and pleura. Those men finally classified as dying from lung cancer showed evidence of lung fibrosis whereas those classified as dying from mesothelioma did not. Comparisons within the group failed to show any relationship between age at first exposure or duration of exposure and the excessive mortality. There were too few non-smokers to show the significance of smoking.

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