Cause specific mortality was investigated among 36,622 members of a national furniture workers' union who were first employed in unionised shops between 1946 and 1962. Overall mortality for each race and sex group was less than expected when compared with United States death rates (white men SMR = 0.8, black men SMR = 0.7, white women SMR = 0.8, black women SMR = 0.5); however, raised risks were observed among white men employed in specific types of furniture industries and followed up for 20 or more years after first employment. Lymphatic and haematopoietic cancers were significantly raised (SMR = 1.8) among wood furniture workers followed up for at least 20 years due to excess deaths from leukaemia (SMR = 2.0) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SMR = 2.0). Mortality from acute myeloid leukaemia was particularly high in this group (SMR = 4.7) based on six observed cases. Metal furniture workers followed up for at least 20 years experienced a significant excess of all cancers combined (SMR = 1.6), with non-significant increases in cancers of the lung, stomach, and colorectum. This group also had non-significant excesses of liver cirrhosis, arteriosclerotic heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease. Nasal cancer was not found to be significantly raised in this cohort, though the average follow up period may not have been sufficient to detect an excess risk for this uncommon tumour.
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