Long-term follow-up mortality study of petroleum refinery and chemical plant employees

Am J Ind Med. 1996 Jan;29(1):75-87. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199601)29:1<75::AID-AJIM10>3.0.CO;2-X.


A previous report presented the 1948-1983 mortality patterns of the Shell Deer Park Manufacturing Complex employees who were employed for at least 3 months from 1948 through 1972. The present study updates the earlier investigation by extending the vital status follow-up through 1989 and by expanding the cohort to include employees hired after 1972. As in the previous study, the overall mortality and cancer mortality for both refinery and chemical employees were quite favorable compared to residents in the local population. Among refinery workers, cancers for which a suspicion of work-relatedness was raised in the previous study, i.e. leukemia and cancers of the central nervous system and biliary passage/liver, no supportive evidence was found in this update. For both refinery and chemical plant employees, the mortality rate due to cancers of all lymphopoietic tissue increased with increasing duration of employment; this finding was also noted by the original study. This was also evident for lymphoreticulosarcoma in refinery employees and for leukemia in chemical plant employees. However, elevations of cancers of all lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue are primarily confined to employees who started work at the complex before 1946. By contrast, deaths from cancer of all lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue for employees hired after 1945 were 22% lower than the comparison population. Seven deaths with mesothelioma mentioned on the death certificates were identified, with 3.2 deaths expected, resulting in a statistically nonsignificant SMR of 219.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Petroleum*
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Time Factors


  • Petroleum