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Br J Ind Med. 1976 November; 33(4): 249–264.
PMCID: PMC1008147

A survey of occupational cancer in the rubber and cablemaking industries: analysis of deaths occurring in 1972-74.


The records of 40 867 men employed for at least one year in the rubber and cablemaking industries have now been observed for eight years. This analysis compares the mortality pattern for 1972-74 with that previously reported for 1968-71. It indicates a significant excess of deaths due to cancer of the bladder throughout the industry including men who had not been exposed to acknowledged bladder carcinogens. This excess is in deaths occurring in 1973 and 1974 in the 45-64 and 65 years plus age groups. The two sectors of the industry where this excess is significant are footwear and footwear supplies except adhesives, and the tyre sector. The excess of all cancers taken together previously noted throughout the study population for 1968-71 is confirmed for 1972-74 as is the excess for lung cancers. The greater excess in the tyre sector is also confirmed, particularly in those men in the 55-64 year age group and those who entered the industry between 1950 and 1960. While men employed in 1967 on moulding, press, autoclave, and pan curing, and workers in finished goods, stores, packaging, and despatch continue to have more lung cancer deaths than expected for 1972-74, the excess is no longer statistically significant. An excess of cancer of the stomach which was overlooked in 1968-71 is not confirmed in 1972-74 but is nevertheless high when the total period of study 1968-74 is considered. The limitations of the study are discussed with particular reference to extrapolating the results to the whole industry. We conclude that there is a higher rate of lung cancer in the tyre sector of the industry and that immediate investigations are required to test the hypothesis concerning the recent excess of bladder cancers. Attention should now be paid to the control of exposures to all potential hazards in the industry.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • CASE RA, HOSKER ME. Tumour of the urinary bladder as an occupational disease in the rubber industry in England and Wales. Br J Prev Soc Med. 1954 Apr;8(2):39–50. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • CASE RA, HOSKER ME, McDONALD DB, PEARSON JT. Tumours of the urinary bladder in workmen engaged in the manufacture and use of certain dyestuff intermediates in the British chemical industry. I. The role of aniline, benzidine, alpha-naphthylamine, and beta-naphthylamine. Br J Ind Med. 1954 Apr;11(2):75–104. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Fox AJ, Collier PF. Low mortality rates in industrial cohort studies due to selection for work and survival in the industry. Br J Prev Soc Med. 1976 Dec;30(4):225–230. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Fox AJ, Lindars DC, Owen R. A survey of occupational cancer in the rubber and cablemaking industries: results of five-year analysis, 1967-71. Br J Ind Med. 1974 Apr;31(2):140–151. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Goldsmith JR. Letter: What do we expect from an occupational cohort? J Occup Med. 1975 Feb;17(2):126–131. [PubMed]
  • McMichael AJ, Andjelkovic DA, Tyroler HA. Cancer mortality among rubber workers: an epidemiologic study. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1976;271:125–137. [PubMed]
  • McMichael AJ, Spirtas R, Kupper LL. An epidemiologic study of mortality within a cohort of rubber workers, 1964-72. J Occup Med. 1974 Jul;16(7):458–464. [PubMed]
  • Mancuso TF, Ciocco A, el-Attar AA. An epidemiological approach to the rubber industry. A study based on departmental experience. J Occup Med. 1968 May;10(5):213–232. [PubMed]
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