Cancer risks among iron and steel workers in Anshan, China, Part I: Proportional mortality ratio analysis

Am J Ind Med. 1996 Jul;30(1):1-6. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199607)30:1<1::AID-AJIM1>3.0.CO;2-5.


A standardized proportional mortality ratio (SPMR) study of 8,887 deaths during 1980-1989 among male workers in a large integrated iron-steel complex in Anshan, China, was conducted to provide clues to occupational risk factors. Accidents and cancer accounted for a higher proportion of deaths among the iron-steel workers than among the general male population (SPMR = 1.21; 95% CI = 1.12-1.31 and 1.14; 95% CI = 1.10-1.18, respectively). Among all workers, SPMRs were significantly elevated for stomach, lung, and colorectal cancers (SPMR = 1.37, 1.37, 1.38, respectively), but not other cancers. Risks of stomach cancer appeared to be highest among workers employed in jobs with exposure to iron and coal dust, whereas significant increases in colorectal cancer were seen for loading and other dusty jobs and for administrative and sedentary jobs without dust exposure. Risks of lung cancer appeared increased for a variety of jobs throughout the complex, especially those with probable high levels of exposure to polycyclic hydrocarbons and asbestos. Risk of esophageal cancer was significantly elevated for fire-resistant brick makers, and risk of nonmalignant respiratory disease was significantly elevated for those employed as furnace workers, foundry workers, and fire-resistant brick makers.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality
  • Asbestos / adverse effects
  • China / epidemiology
  • Coal / adverse effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Dust / adverse effects
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Humans
  • Iron* / adverse effects
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Metallurgy* / statistics & numerical data
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Polycyclic Compounds / adverse effects
  • Population
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Rectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Steel*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality


  • Coal
  • Dust
  • Polycyclic Compounds
  • Steel
  • Asbestos
  • Iron