A cohort study of the incidence of bronchial cancer in male workers in a small company producing chromate pigments is presented. Altogether 133 workers had been employed by the company from the time production was started in 1948 until the end of 1972. Workers with more than three years employment were included in the study, and three cases of bronchial carcinoma were found among the 24 workers who fulfilled this requirement. Based on the data of the Cancer Registry of Norway the risk of bronchial cancer for a corresponding group of the general population was found to be 0.079, which gives a risk ratio for exposed workers of approximately 38. The average age of the cancer patients was as low as 50 years at the time of diagnosis. All workers in the company had been exposed mainly to zinc chromate dust, and the exposure levels of the workers developing bronchial cancers had probably been from 0-5 to 1-5 mg Cr/m-3 for six to nine years. Two of the three patients were smokers. It is assumed that exposure to chromate pigments, and probably to zinc chromate, may be related to the increased incidence of bronchial cancer in this group of workers. The possibility of a contributing effect of tobacco smoking in at least two of the three cases cannot be ruled out.
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