Mortality of female gas mask assemblers

Br J Ind Med. 1982 Feb;39(1):34-8. doi: 10.1136/oem.39.1.34.


A 30-year follow-up study of the mortality of 500 women employed in manufacturing gas masks during the second world war showed a pronounced excess of deaths from mesothelioma and lung cancer. Although these women were subject only to short periods of exposure, greater excesses were found for those exposed for between one and five years than for those exposed for under one year. Even in the latter group, however, five deaths from lung cancer and four deaths from mesothelioma were recorded compared with 1.5 deaths and 0.1 deaths expected (p approximately equal to 0.02). An excess of deaths from cancer of the ovary was also found, and this appeared to be related to exposure to asbestos.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asbestos / adverse effects*
  • England
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Mesothelioma / etiology
  • Mesothelioma / mortality
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protective Devices*
  • Respiratory Protective Devices*


  • Asbestos