Lung cancer risk among refractory brick workers exposed to crystalline silica: a retrospective cohort study

Epidemiology. 1991 Jul;2(4):299-305. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199107000-00012.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study among 1,022 refractory brick workers exposed to crystalline silica. Mortality from lung cancer (SMR = 1.77) and respiratory diseases (SMR = 3.15) was elevated in workers first employed less than or equal to 1957 who are likely to have shared the highest exposure to crystalline silica. Workers with at least 19 years of cumulative employment in the plant experienced particularly increased risks for lung cancer (SMR = 2.01) and respiratory diseases (SMR = 3.89). Relative mortality from these specific causes increased with years since first employment (that is, first exposure) and decreased with age at first employment. Indirect adjustment for smoking habits and the lack of excess mortality from cardiovascular diseases and emphysema indicated little effect of smoking on the increased risks for lung cancer and respiratory diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Construction Materials / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Silicon Dioxide / adverse effects*


  • Silicon Dioxide