Mortality of chrome leather tannery workers and chemical exposures in tanneries

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1987 Apr;13(2):108-17. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.2073.

Abstract

A retrospective mortality analysis was conducted in a cohort of 9,365 individuals employed as of 1940 in two chrome leather tanneries in the United States and followed to the end of 1982. Vital status as of the closing date was determined for over 95% of the cohort. Potential hazardous workplace exposures varied with department and included nitrosamines, chromate pigments, benzidine-based direct dyestuffs, formaldehyde, leather dust, and aromatic organic solvents. Mortality from all causes combined was lower than expected for each tannery, the standardized mortality ratio being 81 for one and 93 for the other. Deaths from cancer of each site, including the lung, were also lower than expected compared to those of either the population of the United States or of local state rates. A significant excess of deaths was observed, however, due to accidental causes in one tannery and cirrhosis of the liver, suicide, and alcoholism in the other. These excesses did not appear to be causally associated with occupational exposures. The findings of this study are consistent with those of the only other mortality investigation of leather tannery employees.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / mortality
  • Chromium / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / mortality
  • Male
  • Minnesota
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Suicide
  • Tanning*
  • Wisconsin

Substances

  • Chromium