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Update of a study of crude oil production workers 1946–94
  1. Barbara J Divine,
  2. Christine M Hartman
  1. Texaco, PO Box 1404, Houston, TX 77251, USA
  1. Dr B Devine divinbj{at}


OBJECTIVE To update information on workers in the petroleum industry engaged in the production of crude oil to determine whether the patterns of mortality have changed with 14 additional years of follow up.

METHODS All workers were employed at company production and pipeline locations sometime during 1946–94. The cohort now consists of 24 124 employees with an average of 22 years of follow up.

RESULTS The overall mortality, and most cause specific mortalities were lower than or similar to those for the general United States population. For white men (81% of the cohort), there were 4361 observed deaths and 5945 expected, resulting in a significantly lower standardised mortality ratio (SMR) of 73. There were significant deficits for all the leading causes of death in the United States including all cancers, cancer of the lung, stroke, heart disease, respiratory disease, and accidents. Slightly increased mortality was found for cancer of the prostate, cancer of the brain and central nervous system, and cancer of other lymphatic tissue. For benign and unspecified neoplasms, the SMR was 152 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 95 to 230). There was a significant increase for acute myelogenous leukaemia that was restricted to people who were first employed before 1940 and who were employed in production and pipeline jobs for >30 years. Overall mortality patterns for non-white men and women were similar to those for white men. Mortality patterns for white men were also examined by duration of employment, time first employed, and by job group.

CONCLUSIONS The results of the updated study showed a favourable mortality experience for crude oil production workers compared with the United States population.

  • petroleum industry
  • occupational cancer
  • mortality
  • crude oil

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