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Working in the rubber industry is associated with increased cancer risks, particularly for cancers of the lung, larynx, urinary bladder and leukaemia.1 Most epidemiological studies, however, still reflect working conditions back to the 1940s. As occupational exposures were lowered considerably since the late 1970s, prospective health surveillance is warranted to assess the effectiveness of exposure control.
The cohort included all blue-collar workers of 13 participating rubber manufacturing companies in western Germany who were hired after 1 January 1981 and worked for at least 1 year until the end of follow-up. Follow-up started on 1 January 1982 and ended on 31 December 2000, but was censored at the age of 85 years.
The vital status was ascertained via population registries. Death certificates were requested from community health departments and underlying causes of death were coded by professional nosologists according to the ninth revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9).
The mortality experience of the cohort was compared with the mortality of the corresponding population of western Germany. Standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) and exact 95% confidence …