The mortality of coke workers in Britain

Am J Ind Med. 1983;4(6):691-704. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700040603.


Two studies of coke workers in Britain, comprising 6,767 men, gave similar results. The proportion of lung cancer deaths was about 20% higher than in manual workers generally. The excess occurred primarily among younger men. The ratio of lung cancers to all other cancers was also higher than expected, with limited data showing no evidence of excessive tobacco consumption. Death rates from other causes were generally favorable. Overall the lung cancer death rates in oven workers were similar to those in non-oven men, but in both studies some indications of a job-specific excess were noted. These findings are compared with results from earlier studies in the United States and Canada where a much higher excess lung cancer mortality was found in oven men, particularly those with longer exposure times. We discuss possible reasons for the differences, and conclude that the results reported now contribute further evidence that exposure to coal carbonization fumes can cause lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Canada
  • Coal / adverse effects*
  • Coke / adverse effects*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Smoking
  • United Kingdom
  • United States


  • Coal
  • Coke