Identification particulars were obtained for over 7000 men who were at some time between 1940 and 1974 exposed to vinyl chloride monomer in the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride. Approximately 99% of these men have been traced and their mortality experience studied. The overall standardised mortality ratio, 75-4, shows a significant reduction compared with the national rates. Four cases of liver cancer were found. Two of these have been confirmed by a panel of liver pathologists as angiosarcoma and two as not angiosarcoma. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis that cancers other than those of the liver are associated with exposure to vinyl chloride monomer. The two cases of angiosarcoma were found in men who had been exposed to high concentrations of the monomer although the second man died only eight years after first exposure. The industry in Great Britain has expanded considerably since the second world war with over 50% of men having entered with the last decade. Conclusions drawn about the effect of vinyl chloride monomer on the mortality experience of men in this industry must consequently be tempered by the reservation that the full impact may not yet be in evidence.
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