An analysis has been made of the mortality and cancer incidence of 1168 workers who entered the three factories of the perfumery industry of the Canton of Geneva from their establishment at the turn of the century to the end of 1964. The workers were followed up from their entry until 31 December 1980, at which date 344 were dead and 28 lost to follow up. Among the whole study population only mortality from tuberculosis was significantly raised; there was no significant increase in the incidence of or mortality from any cancer. Analysis by four exposure categories showed a significant excess of deaths from heart disease among the compounders. In addition, two deaths from aplastic anaemia were recorded in chemical process workers exposed to benzene. Further analysis by cohort of entry and by birth cohort indicated that, among the subgroup of men first employed in 1900-29 and born in 1880-99, the mortality from a wide range of causes was significantly increased below the age of 70. This increase is unlikely to be due to an occupational factor as indicated by the absence of an upward trend of mortality with longer exposure.
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