Mortality at an Automotive Engine Foundry and Machining Complex

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Abstract

Mortality was analyzed for an automotive engine foundry and machining complex, with process exposures derived from department assignments. Logistic regression models of mortality odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for 2546 deaths, and numbers of work-related deaths were estimated. Lung cancer mortality in the foundry was increased where cleaning and finishing of castings was performed (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.15 to 2.4 [at mean exposure duration of exposed cases]) and in core-making after 1967 (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.11 to 2.0). Black workers had excess lung cancer mortality in machining heat-treat operations (OR, 2.5, 95% CI, 1.4 to 4.3) and excess nonmalignant respiratory disease mortality in molding (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.16 to 5.5) and core-making (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.25 to 5.8). Stomach cancer mortality was elevated among workers with metalworking fluid exposures in precision grinding (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.14 to 5.1). Heart disease mortality was increased among all workers in molding (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.09 to 2.3), as was stroke mortality among workers exposed to metalworking fluids (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.22 to 2.7). Malignant and nonmalignant liver disease mortality was elevated in assembly/testing and precision grinding. In this modern foundry, 11% of deaths were estimated to be work-related despite it’s being largely in regulatory compliance over its 40-year existence. Machining plant exposures accounted for 3% or more of deaths there.

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