An industry-wide epidemiologic study of vinyl chloride workers, 1942-1982

Am J Ind Med. 1991;20(3):317-34. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700200305.


The cohort consisted of 10,173 men who had worked for at least one year in jobs involving exposure to vinyl chloride prior to 1 January 1973. These men were employed at 37 plants in the U.S., belonging to 17 companies. Observation of the mortality experience of the cohort was updated from 31 December 1972 to 31 December 1982 (the study now covering 1942-1982). A total of 1,536 cohort members were identified as having died. The observed mortality, by cause, was compared with the expected based on U.S. mortality rates, standardized for age, race, and calendar time. Analyses by length of exposure, latency, age at first exposure, calendar year of first exposure, and type of products were performed. The study confirmed that the vinyl chloride workers experience a significant mortality excesses in angiosarcoma (15 deaths), cancer of the liver and biliary tract (SMR = 641), and cancer of the brain and other central nervous system (SMR = 180). In addition, the study also found a significant mortality excess in emphysema/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (SMR = 179). On the other hand, the study did not find any excess in either respiratory cancer or lymphatic and hematopoietic cancer. This study also found an increase in biliary tract cancers, independent from liver cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vinyl Chloride / adverse effects*


  • Vinyl Chloride