A mortality study of shipyard workers with pleural plaques

Br J Ind Med. 1972 Apr;29(2):142-5. doi: 10.1136/oem.29.2.142.


Fletcher, D. E. (1972).Brit. J. industr. Med.,29, 142-145. A mortality study of shipyard workers with pleural plaques. Mild asbestos effects are seen frequently in shipyard workers. It is known that exposure of this type may be associated with mesothelioma, but it is not generally thought that an increased bronchial carcinoma risk exists unless there is pulmonary fibrosis. A number of cases of both types of malignant disease were seen in the Barrow hospitals, associated with pleural plaques. In view of this a retrospective survey was carried out.

All routine administrative chest films taken in the works clinic between 1960 and 1970 were reviewed, together with the films of the 1962 mass radiography session, and 408 men were found to have evidence of pleural plaques. The men were followed up from the year of diagnosis until 1970 and 65 men died in this period. A similar control group of 404 men was chosen and 56 of them died. Both groups were compared with the expected mortality of Barrow men of the same age groups. There were 16 bronchial carcinomas in the plaque series compared with an expected figure of 6·74 (P = 0·0047), while in the control series there were 7 bronchial carcinomas compared with 5·61 expected (P = 0·516). Three mesotheliomas occurred in the plaque series (P = 0·0002).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asbestos*
  • Asbestosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Bronchial Neoplasms / mortality
  • England
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Chest X-Ray
  • Mesothelioma / mortality
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Occupational Medicine*
  • Pleural Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ships


  • Asbestos