Mortality of Carpenters' Union members employed in the U.S. construction or wood products industries, 1987-1990

Am J Ind Med. 1996 Dec;30(6):674-94. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199612)30:6<674::AID-AJIM4>3.0.CO;2-R.

Abstract

This study evaluated the mortality of 27,362 members of the U.S. Carpenters' Union who died in 1987-1990. Age-adjusted proportionate mortality ratios (PMRs) and proportionate cancer mortality ratios (PCMRs) were computed using the U.S. age-, gender-, and race-specific proportional mortality for the years of the study. For white male carpenters who were last employed while in construction industry locals, raised mortality was observed for lung cancer (PCMR = 107, CI = 103, 111), bone cancer (PMR = 181, CI = 107, 286), asbestosis (PMR = 283, CI = 158, 457), emphysema (PMR = 115, CI = 102, 130), transportation injuries (PMR = 121, CI = 109, 135), and falls (PMR = 122, CI = 104, 142). For white male carpenters who were last employed while in industrial wood products locals, significantly raised mortality occurred for stomach cancer (PMR = 187, CI = 136, 250), male breast cancer (PCMR = 469, CI = 128, 720), and transportation injuries (PMR = 136, CI = 110, 173). Excess breast cancer was associated with last employment inn wood machining trades. Nasal cancer mortality was not elevated. A total of 121 mesotheliomas were observed. Contributing cause of death analyses revealed raised mortality for these and additional causes; 4,594 (18%) death certificates mentioned occupational and other lung disease as a contributing factor, resulting in significantly elevated mortality. These data show that construction carpenters have moderately elevated mortality for the diseases caused by asbestos (lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma) and from traumatic injuries. The finding of elevated mortality for stomach, bone, and breast cancer was unexpected and requires further evaluation of possible occupational factors. This study confirms that construction carpentry is an extremely hazardous trade. The data suggest that additional preventive action guarding against asbestos exposure and occupational injury is urgently needed in this occupation.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asbestosis / mortality
  • Bone Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms, Male / mortality
  • Cause of Death
  • Construction Materials
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor Unions
  • Lung Diseases / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / mortality
  • Nose Neoplasms / mortality
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / mortality
  • Sex Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality
  • Transportation
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wood
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control