Background: Earlier reports of the mortality experience of this cohort of automotive workers followed from 1938 to 1967 who were exposed to cutting oil mist noted an excess of gastrointestinal cancer. The present report describes the mortality experience of these workers followed for mortality through 1980.
Methods: Cause-specific standardized mortality ratios were calculated by comparing the observed number of deaths to the expected numbers based on rates for the U.S. male population.
Results: The SMRs for liver and biliary tract, and testicular cancers were significantly elevated. Among the subset of workers with heavy oil mist exposure, SMRs were significantly elevated for cancers of the lung and testis, and for Hodgkin's disease. The risk of death due to lung cancer was greatest among workers with heavy exposure to oil mist employed for 15 or more years. Mortality due to stomach cancer was in excess among workers with heavy exposure to oil mist who were employed for 5 or more years. There were significant excesses of deaths due to asthma and emphysema.
Conclusions: Further studies with information on the presence of contaminants and additives in oil mists will help elucidate the relationship between oil mist exposure and cancer.