Mortality and incidence of cancer 1953-84 was studied in a cohort of 529 men exposed to mineral oils in a Norwegian cable manufacturing company. Expected numbers of deaths were calculated from national death rates and cases of cancer from regional incidence rates. Among the 195 men who had worked for less than one year, there were statistically significant excesses of deaths from all causes (O/E = 75/39.3) and from malignant neoplasms, ischaemic heart disease, non-malignant respiratory disease, and violence. In a subcohort of all 248 men with known work category and at least one year's employment in oil exposed work statistically significant excesses of deaths from ischaemic heart disease (O/E = 26/16.1) and cases of lung cancer (O/E = 10/3.9) were observed. Nine of the cases of lung cancer had occurred 20 years or more after first employment (2.7 expected; p less than 0.01). In smokers of this subcohort there were 7.06 cases of lung cancer per 1000 person-years compared with 1.30 in smokers of a general population sample. It is concluded that exposure to mineral oils has probably been an important contributing factor in the development of lung cancer among these workers.
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