An epidemiological study of petroleum refinery employees

Br J Ind Med. 1986 Jan;43(1):6-17. doi: 10.1136/oem.43.1.6.


A cohort study of 14179 current and former Chevron USA employees at the Richmond and El Segundo, California, refineries was conducted. The cohort consisted of everyone working at either refinery for a minimum of one year. The observed mortality of the cohort, by cause, was compared with the expected based on the United States mortality rates, standardised for age, race, sex, and calendar time. Analyses by refinery, job category, hire date, duration of employment, and latency were performed. For the entire cohort, mortality from all causes was 72.4% of that expected, a deficit that was statistically significant. In addition, a significantly lower mortality was found for all forms of cancer combined, digestive cancer, lung cancer, heart disease, non-malignant respiratory disease, diseases of the digestive system, and accidents. Only lymphopoietic cancer showed a pattern of increased risk suggestive of a possible relation to an occupational exposure. The excess appears confined to cancer of lymphatic tissue (not leukaemias) at Richmond, and only among those hired before 1948. A follow up case analysis of the deaths from lymphatic cancer failed to identify a common exposure pattern.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • California
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / mortality
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Petroleum / adverse effects*
  • Suicide / epidemiology
  • Time Factors


  • Petroleum