A retrospective cohort study (1972-81) of occupational cancers in asbestos (chrysotile) factories has been previously published. In this paper the results of continued tracing and interviewing of members of this cohort from 1982 to 1986 is reported. The cohort included 5893 persons (45,974 person-years for men and 39,445 person-years for women). Malignant tumours played a large part in causes of death (36.9%). There were 183 cancers and 67 lung cancers among 496 deaths. The mortality due to lung cancer had a tendency to increase. By comparison with a control group, the RR of lung cancer was 5.32 (p < 0.01), and the SRR of lung cancer was 4.2 (p < 0.01), significantly higher than those of a control group. Among 148 cases of death from asbestosis there were 33 cases complicated with lung cancer (22.3%). The dose-response relations between exposure to asbestos and incidence of asbestosis and lung cancer were also studied in one asbestos factory. There was a positive correlation. A synergistic effect was found between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Preventive and control measures and exposure limits for asbestos dust in the air of workplaces were recommended.
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