A cohort mortality study of lung cancer in 7088 copper miners was made from 1 January 1969 to 31 December 1988. There was an excess of deaths from lung cancer in the copper miners. The standardised mortality ratio (SMR) was 147 (p < 0.01). The SMR increased with calendar period. There was a higher risk of deaths from lung cancer in the miners employed in the 1950s. Age at the start of exposure had no effect on the risk of lung cancer. The risk of death from lung cancer increased with the duration of exposure and the time since first exposure. The SMR for lung cancer was 173 in underground miners and 193 for drilling miners (both p < 0.01). These data show that exposure to dust is associated with an excess of deaths from lung cancer in copper miners whereas exposure to radiation does not seem to carry such risk.
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