Mortality Patterns among Commercial Painters in The Netherlands

Int J Occup Environ Health. 1995 Oct;1(4):303-310. doi: 10.1179/oeh.1995.1.4.303.


In an epidemiologic study, the mortality patterns of commercial painters in The Netherlands were investigated. The hypothesis that painters are at an increased risk of cancer, especially lung cancer, was tested in collaboration with the Dutch Social Fund for painters. This fund manages the pensions of Dutch painters. In the group of painters eligible for pensions, 9,812 deaths were observed between 1980 and 1992. Proportionate mortality ratios were calculated. The results support previous findings of an increased risk of lung cancer in painters. Although no statement can be made about the actual causal agent, the authors believe that the sanding down of old paint layers may expose painters to particulates that contain carcinogens such as lead chromates and asbestos. The decreased risks of mortality from some neoplasms and circulatory and digestive problems, pneumoconiosis, and "other causes" observed in the painters lack a plausible explanation. Chance or the known limitation of proportionate mortality ratio analysis might play a role.