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

C. F. Robinson, M. Petersen, W. K. Sieber, S. Palu, W. E. Halperin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study evaluated the mortality of 27,362 members of the U.S. Carpenter's Union who died 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 (PCMR = 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 (PCMR = 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 in 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-694
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican journal of industrial medicine
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Keywords

  • asbestos
  • injury
  • mesothelioma
  • occupational hazards
  • occupational lung diseases
  • stomach cancer
  • surveillance
  • wood dust

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