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A survey of occupational cancer in the rubber and cablemaking industries: analysis of deaths occurring in 1972-74.
  1. A J Fox,
  2. P F Collier


    The records of 40 867 men employed for at least one year in the rubber and cablemaking industries have now been observed for eight years. This analysis compares the mortality pattern for 1972-74 with that previously reported for 1968-71. It indicates a significant excess of deaths due to cancer of the bladder throughout the industry including men who had not been exposed to acknowledged bladder carcinogens. This excess is in deaths occurring in 1973 and 1974 in the 45-64 and 65 years plus age groups. The two sectors of the industry where this excess is significant are footwear and footwear supplies except adhesives, and the tyre sector. The excess of all cancers taken together previously noted throughout the study population for 1968-71 is confirmed for 1972-74 as is the excess for lung cancers. The greater excess in the tyre sector is also confirmed, particularly in those men in the 55-64 year age group and those who entered the industry between 1950 and 1960. While men employed in 1967 on moulding, press, autoclave, and pan curing, and workers in finished goods, stores, packaging, and despatch continue to have more lung cancer deaths than expected for 1972-74, the excess is no longer statistically significant. An excess of cancer of the stomach which was overlooked in 1968-71 is not confirmed in 1972-74 but is nevertheless high when the total period of study 1968-74 is considered. The limitations of the study are discussed with particular reference to extrapolating the results to the whole industry. We conclude that there is a higher rate of lung cancer in the tyre sector of the industry and that immediate investigations are required to test the hypothesis concerning the recent excess of bladder cancers. Attention should now be paid to the control of exposures to all potential hazards in the industry.

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