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2.  A mortality study of workers manufacturing friction materials: 1941-86. 
The mortality of workers employed at a factory producing friction materials has been studied from 1941 to 1986, extending a previous study by seven years. Apart from two periods before 1944, when crocidolite asbestos was used on one particular contract, only chrysotile asbestos has been used. Thirteen deaths were attributed to mesothelioma and of these, 11 were of subjects who had known contact with crocidolite asbestos. Of the remaining two, in one instance the diagnosis is uncertain and in the other the occupational history of the subject is not well established. There was no excess of deaths from lung cancer or other asbestos related tumours, or from chronic respiratory disease. After 1950 hygienic control was progressively improved and from 1970 levels of asbestos in air have not exceeded 0.5-1.0 f/ml. It is concluded that with good environmental control chrysotile asbestos may be used in manufacture without causing excess mortality.
PMCID: PMC1009749  PMID: 2539183
3.  Correlation between fibre content of the lung and disease in east London asbestos factory workers. 
The lungs from 36 past workers at an east London asbestos factory who had died from asbestos related disease were compared with lung tissue from 56 matched control patients being operated on in east London for carcinoma of the lung, correlating the severity of asbestosis and the presence of pulmonary carcinoma or mesothelioma of the pleura or peritoneum with an asbestos exposure index and type and amount of mineral fibre in the lungs. Asbestosis was associated with far heavier fibre burdens than mesothelioma. There was also a striking difference in the degree of asbestosis between the subjects with mesothelioma and those with carcinoma of the lung, the asbestosis being more severe in the latter. A further finding was that crocidolite and amosite were strongly associated with asbestosis, carcinoma of the lung complicating asbestosis, and mesothelioma, whereas no such correlation was evident with chrysotile or mullite. It is suggested that more emphasis should be placed on the biological differences between amphibole and serpentine asbestos fibre.
PMCID: PMC1007999  PMID: 3378009
4.  Mortality of workers at acetylene production plants. 
To reduce the risk of explosion oxyacetylene cylinders are filled with a spongy mass, acetone is added to saturate the mass, and acetylene is pumped into the cylinder. The first cylinders manufactured before 1936 used a kapok filling topped off with about 16 oz of crocidolite asbestos, with a metal gauze thimble inserted to reduce risk of flash back. Cylinders must be examined annually. The use of crocidolite ceased in 1972 and other fillings have been adopted since 1970; kapok cylinders now constitute less than 5% of the total stock. To assess possible hazards, a mortality study of workers first employed between 1935 and 1975 and followed up to December 1984 was undertaken. Simulation tests showed low concentrations of asbestos in the air even in the earliest period. The population studied consisted of 370 workers at the Bilston plant in the West Midlands, 611 at the 14 other plants in England and Wales, and 120 in Scotland. No deaths occurred from mesothelial tumours but there was an excess of deaths from cancer, particularly lung cancer, cancer of the stomach, and cancer of the pancreas, the latter accounting for eight deaths. Risks appeared to be concentrated at the Bilston plant. The importance of these findings is discussed.
PMCID: PMC1007946  PMID: 3342189
8.  Mortality of welders and other craftsmen at a shipyard in NE England. 
Personnel records of over 1000 welders and electricians but only 235 caulkers and 557 platers employed at a shipyard in NE England between 1940 and 1968 were obtained and the mortality followed up to December 1982. The observed number of deaths (13 from mesothelial tumours, nine among the electricians) were compared with the number to be expected in the Newcastle connurbation. Welders and caulkers were most exposed to welding fumes, electricians to asbestos. The study was limited by the lack of accurate job exposure details, and there was no record of smoking habits, but welders and caulkers showed a higher standardised mortality ratio for all causes, lung cancer, ischaemic heart disease, pneumonia, and accidents than platers and electricians.
PMCID: PMC1007499  PMID: 4005194
9.  Combined effect of asbestos and smoking on mortality from lung cancer and mesothelioma in factory workers. 
The mortality of over 1250 male and 420 female asbestos factory workers was observed over the period 1971-80. Smoking habits were obtained from the subjects in 1971 before the start of the follow up period. Mortality due to lung cancer and to mesothelioma was related to smoking habits. After allowing for the effect of smoking on lung cancer the relative risk due to asbestos was highest for those who had never smoked, lowest for current smokers, and intermediate for ex-smokers; the trend was statistically significant (p less than 0.05). There was no significant association between smoking and deaths due to mesothelioma. Data from several studies are reviewed, and although overall non-smokers have a relative risk of lung cancer due to asbestos that is 1.8 times that of smokers, there is some uncertainty on the accuracy of this figure because of possible biases and sampling variation. Overall the evidence is that mesothelioma risk is independent of smoking.
PMCID: PMC1007410  PMID: 3965010
10.  Mortality of factory workers in east London 1933-80. 
The mortality of 3000 male factory workers, 1400 laggers, and 700 women factory workers in east London has been studied. The men were first employed between 1933 and 1964, the women between 1936 and 1942. Textiles were produced until the late 1950s as well as other asbestos products. Laggers were employed on contract in increasing numbers in later years. Crocidolite asbestos was used until the late 1950s as well as asmosite and chrysotile. Exposure of workers was graded according to the job into two categories, low/moderate and severe, and subdivided by duration of employment up to two years or longer. Mesothelial tumours accounted for 7.5% of the total mortality in men, and 9% in women with their longer follow up period. Lung cancer accounted for 20% of deaths in men and 14% in women. Both mesothelial tumours and lung cancer showed a dose response relationship. Histopathological examination of a series of predominantly postmortem specimens showed 22% of adenocarcinomas of lung among men and 21% in women. There was an excess of gastrointestinal tumours but no dose response relationship could be shown. Among severely exposed male factory workers there was an excess of deaths from cancer of the larynx and among severely exposed women of carcinoma of the breast and ovary. Twenty four deaths (2%) were due to asbestosis. There is an indication that the incidence of mesothelial tumours is declining but a further period of observation is required for confirmation.
PMCID: PMC1007409  PMID: 3965014
11.  Mortality of workers manufacturing friction materials using asbestos. 
A mortality (1942-80) study was carried out on 13460 workers of a factory producing friction materials. The only type of asbestos used was chrysotile, except during two well-defined periods before 1945 when crocidolite was used, and over 99% of the population was traced. Compared with national death rates there were no detectable excesses of deaths due to lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, or other cancers; 11 deaths were due to pleural mesothelioma. A case-control study was carried out on deaths due to mesothelioma; this showed that eight workers had been exposed to crocidolite and another was possibly exposed intermittently to crocidolite. The other two had been employed for most of their working lives outside the factory, and their mesotheliomas could not be definitely attributed to exposure to chrysotile. Limiting the study to cases and controls who had exposure to 5 fibres/ml of chrysotile asbestos it was found that five of the six cases compared with two of the 10 controls had also been exposed to crocidolite. The probability (1:36) of this occurring were there no association with crocidolite is most unlikely. A case-control study was also carried out on deaths due to lung cancer and gastrointestinal cancer to investigate the dose-response relationships between these tumours and exposure to chrysotile. Measured and estimated fibre concentrations were available for the different jobs over the period of the study. No dose-response relationships were observed, but the exposures were low with only 5% of men accumulating 100 fibre-years/ml. The experience at this factory over a 40-year period showed that chrysotile asbestos was processed with no detectable excess mortality.
PMCID: PMC1009109  PMID: 6297532
13.  Mortality of chrysotile asbestos workers at the Balangero Mine, Northern Italy. 
The mortality from 1946 to 1975 of over 900 North Italian chrysotile asbestos workers first employed between 1930 and 1965 has been studied. Nine deaths were certified as attributable to asbestosis, and eleven to lung cancer. One death was attributed to mesothelioma of pleura but this diagnosis was not supported by histological examination. Comparison with the national figures for all Italy did not reveal an excess of deaths from lung cancer but during the last quinquennium of observation, the SMR for lung cancer rose to 206. Simulation experiments enabled a dust index in fibre/years to be attached to each man in the cohort. All but two of the deaths from lung cancer occurred in the higher exposure group. The relative risk of lung cancer in this group was 2.89. The eleven workers who died from lung cancer were all cigarette smokers. A further period of observation is required to monitor the mortality of the surviving workers.
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PMCID: PMC1008562  PMID: 500777
14.  Predictions of mortality from mesothelial tumours in asbestos factory workers. 
Using the accumulated data on deaths from mesothelial tumours among cohorts of male and female factory workers at a London asbestos textile factory, the mortality from this cause up to the year 2000 AD has been predicted. The limitations of the methods used are pointed out, but it is estimated that for men the mortality due to mesothelial tumours will be between 7% and 11% of the total mortality and somewhat higher for women. The highest number of deaths from mesothelial tumours will occur during the 1980s, thereafter the numbers will decline because of the decreasing size of the cohort resulting from general mortality.
PMCID: PMC1008127  PMID: 962998

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