Bronchial carcinoma mortality in the German chromate-producing industry: the effects of process modification

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1993;65(3):171-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00381153.


This study updates a 1982 report on mortality at two German chromate-producing factories. The main objective of the study was to establish whether the change-over to a production process using lime-free conversion of chromite ore, thus eliminating the formation of calcium chromate, had resulted in a distinct reduction in bronchial carcinoma mortality among workers exposed for the first time after the change-over (completed in 1958 in Leverkusen and 1964 in Uerdingen). A total of 1417 workers with at least 1 year of exposure were enrolled in the study. The observation period ended on 31 December 1988. The expected number of deaths was calculated using population statistics for North Rhine-Westphalia. The risk was determined in the form of a standardised mortality ratio (SMR), i.e. the ratio of observed deaths to expected deaths. In the group of 739 workers exposed before the process change-over was completed, 432 died during the observation period, 66 of them from bronchial carcinoma. This significant excess produced an SMR of 2.27 (95% confidence interval: 1.78-2.85). Where the cause of death was unknown, cases were allocated to a cause of death on the basis of the percentage occurrence of various causes of death in the specific subcohort. The cohort of 678 workers first exposed after the process modification had been completed had a slightly increased SMR for lung cancer of 1.26 (95% confidence interval: 0.58-2.38) based on nine cases.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcium Compounds / adverse effects*
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / mortality*
  • Cause of Death
  • Chromates / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Calcium Compounds
  • Chromates
  • calcium chromate(VI)