The mortality experienced by a cohort of 36445 rubber workers during 1946-80 has been investigated. These workers were all male operatives first employed in any one of the 13 participating factories in 1946-60; all had worked continuously in the industry for a minimum period of one year. Compared with the general population, statistically significant excesses relating to cancer mortality were found for cancer of the stomach (E = 245.9, O = 282, SMR = 115), primary cancer of the liver (E = 12.8, O = 22, SMR = 172), cancer of the lung (E = 892.7, O = 1191, SMR = 133), and all neoplasms (E = 2165.2, O = 2487, SMR = 115). Statistically significant deficits were found for cancer of the prostate (E = 79.7, O = 59, SMR = 74) and cancer of the testis (E = 10.3, O = 4, SMR = 39). The method of regression models in life tables (RMLT) was used to compare the duration of employment in the industry, the duration in "dust exposed" jobs, and the duration in "fume and/or solvent exposed" jobs of those dying from causes of interest with those of all matching survivors. Significant positive associations were found only for cancer of the stomach and cancer of the lung. The results of the RMLT analysis are independent of those from the SMR analysis, and the study has provided further evidence of a causal association between the risks of lung and stomach cancer and certain occupational exposures in the rubber industry.
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