Occup Environ Med 61:529-534 doi:10.1136/oem.2003.009936
  • Original article

Mortality and cancer incidence among Lithuanian cement producing workers

  1. G Smailyte1,
  2. J Kurtinaitis1,
  3. A Andersen2
  1. 1Lithuanian Cancer Registry, Oncology Institute of Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania
  2. 2The Cancer Registry of Norway
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ms G Smailyte
 Lithuanian Cancer Registry, Polocko 2, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2007;
  • Accepted 28 November 2003


Aims: To investigate mortality and cancer incidence of cement producing workers.

Methods: A total of 2498 cement workers who have been employed at Portland cement producing departments for at least one year from 1956 to 2000 were followed up from 1 January 1978 to 31 December 2000. The cohort contributed 43 490 person-years to the study. Standardised incidence ratios (SIR) and standardised mortality ratios (SMR) were calculated as ratios between observed and expected numbers of cancers and deaths. The expected numbers were based on sex specific incidence and mortality rates for the total Lithuanian population.

Results: Significantly increased SMRs were found for all malignant neoplasms (SMR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.5) and for lung cancer (SMR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.9) among male cement workers. SIR for all cancer sites was 1.2 (95% CI 1.0 to 1.4). Excess risk was found for cancer of the lung (SIR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.1). The SIR for urinary bladder cancer was also increased (SIR 1.8, 95% CI 0.9 to 3.5). The overall cancer incidence was not increased among females (SIR 0.8, 95% CI 0.6 to 1.1). With increasing cumulated exposure to cement dust, there were indications of an increasing risk of lung and stomach cancers among males.

Conclusions: This study supported the hypothesis that exposure to cement dust may increase the lung and bladder cancer risk. A dose related risk was found for stomach cancer, but no support was found for an increased risk of colorectal cancer.