A Mortality Study of Oil Refinery Workers

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Abstract

Survival status of 1205 men employed for more than five years in a Canadian oil refinery in East Montreal, from 1928 through 1976, was assessed and death certificates were reviewed. Expected numbers of deaths were estimated based upon age- and cause-specific death rates for the Province of Quebec applied to person-years at work. Oil refinery workers showed a standard mortality ratio lower than expected for all causes of death (SMR = 78.43). Three cancers of the brain were found among young people who died less than 20 years since start of exposure. This was statistically higher than expected. Cancers of the digestive system, though not significantly higher than expected, remained suspect of being associated with work. There is a need to expand this research to other oil refinery workers.

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