OBJECTIVE: After an inquiry from the employees of an offset printing plant, a historical cohort study was conducted to investigate cancer mortality among these workers. METHODS: The cohort comprised 262 men, who contributed 2771 person-years of observation. 16 deaths were identified during the follow up period (1980-91). Expected numbers of deaths were derived from age specific regional rates. Standardised mortality ratios (SMR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated. RESULTS: An increased cancer mortality was found after 10 years of employment (SMR 213, 95% CI 98 to 405, based on nine deaths), mainly due to a high mortality from lung cancer (SMR 381, 95% CI 104 to 975, four deaths), and from oesophageal cancer (SMR 1049, 95% CI 216 to 3065, three deaths). For workers with at least 20 years since the start of employment, the SMR was 262 (95% CI 105 to 540) for all cancer sites, 447 (95% CI 92 to 1306) for lung cancer, and 1094 (95% CI 132 to 3952) for oesophageal cancer. The increased cancer mortality was concentrated among pressmen. CONCLUSION: Although based on small numbers, the findings suggest an increased risk of cancer among these workers, which should be further investigated.
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