OBJECTIVE: To examine patterns of mortality for specific causes of death with increases in the Texaco mortality study to determine if the patterns are related to employment in the petroleum industry. METHODS: Mortality patterns by duration of employment in various job groups were examined for mesothelioma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, cell type specific leukaemia, and brain tumours. RESULTS: Mortality from mesothelioma was examined for the total cohort and for two maintenance groups with the greatest potential for exposure to asbestos. The insulator group had a standardised mortality ratio (SMR) of 3029, and a larger group consisting of insulators, carpenters, labourers, electricians, pipefitters, boiler-makers, and welders had an SMR of 411. The mortalities from mesothelioma increased with increasing duration of employment. Mortality was lower for those first employed after 1950. An analysis of all brain tumours for the total cohort and some job and unit subgroups resulted in an SMR of 178 for those employed on the units related to motor oil and 166 for those employed as laboratory workers. Mortality from brain tumours in both of these job groups was higher for those employed > or = 5 years in the group. An analysis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma showed no consistent patterns among the various employment groups. Mortality from multiple myeloma was non-significantly increased among people employed on the crude (SMR = 155) and fluid catalytic cracking units (SMR = 198). Leukaemia mortality was not increased for the total cohort, and a cell type analysis of leukaemia mortality for the total cohort showed no significant increases for the major cell types. However, there were significant increases for acute unspecified leukaemia (SMR = 276) and leukaemia of unknown cell type (SMR = 231). CONCLUSIONS: Analyses of specific causes of death by duration of employment in various job and process units did not show any patterns which suggest that, other than for mesothelioma, any of these increases in mortalities were likely to have resulted from workplace exposures or from employment at one of the places included in the Texaco mortality study.
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