Extended mortality follow-up among men and women in a U.S. furniture workers union

Am J Ind Med. 1994 Apr;25(4):537-49. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700250408.


The addition of 5 years of follow-up and over 411,000 person-years of observation to a cohort of 34,081 men and women employed in U.S. furniture and other related industries allowed the investigation of mortality patterns among women and minority races in addition to white men. A significant excess of pleural mesotheliomas occurred among white men (standardized mortality ratio [SMR] = 3.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2-8.7) but could not be linked to a particular type of furniture manufacturing. SMRs for myeloid leukemia and chronic nephritis were elevated among white men employed in the wood furniture industry but were not statistically significant. Males in the black/other race categories in wood furniture plants showed nonsignificant mortality excesses for infectious diseases and cancers of the prostate and colon and rectum. Among white women employed in wood furniture plants, mortality was elevated for cancers of the pancreas and lung during the most recent follow-up period. In metal furniture plants, mortality was raised among men in both race groups for kidney cancer (black/other SMR = 8.0, 95% CI = 1.6-23.2; white SMR = 2.1, 95% CI = 0.4-6.2) and diabetes mellitus (black/other SMR = 2.2, 95% CI = 0.6-5.6; white SMR = 1.8, 95% CI = 0.7-3.9). Stomach cancer mortality was significantly elevated (SMR = 3.3, 95% CI = 1.3-6.8) among white men in metal furniture plants and was of the same magnitude over both the previous and the most recent follow-up periods. Among those working with textiles, SMRs were significantly elevated for leukemia (SMR = 6.1, 95% CI = 1.2-7.8) and cancers of the colon and rectum (SMR = 3.2, 95% CI = 1.3-4.5) for white women. Lung cancer mortality was increased for white men and women in textile operations, but SMRs were not statistically significant. SMRs for a number of other causes of death that were elevated at the end of the earlier follow-up period were not increased during the new follow-up period.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Blacks
  • Cause of Death*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dust / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings*
  • Labor Unions
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / etiology
  • Mesothelioma / mortality
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / etiology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Wood*


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust