Low-Level Hexavalent Chromium Exposure and Rate of Mortality Among US Chromate Production Employees

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Abstract

Objectives:

Although numerous studies have reported an elevated lung cancer risk among chromium chemical production employees, few studies have focused on employees hired after major process changes and enhanced industrial hygiene controls were implemented.

Methods:

This study examines the mortality experience of two postchange cohorts of chromate production employees constituting the current US chromium chemical industry.

Results:

Mortality among chromium chemical workers generally was lower than expected on the basis of national and state-specific referent populations. Lung cancer mortality was 16% lower than expected, with only three lung cancer deaths (3.59 expected).

Conclusion:

The absence of an elevated lung cancer risk may be a favorable reflection of the postchange environment. However, longer follow-up allowing an appropriate latency for the entire cohort will be needed to confirm this conclusion.

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