Journal Article

Mortality of United Kingdom oil refinery and petroleum distribution workers, 1951–1998

T. Sorahan, L. Nichols and J. M. Harrington

in Occupational Medicine

Published on behalf of Society of Occupational Medicine

Volume 52, issue 6, pages 333-339
Published in print September 2002 | ISSN: 0962-7480
Published online September 2002 | e-ISSN: 1471-8405 | DOI:
Mortality of United Kingdom oil refinery and petroleum distribution workers, 1951–1998

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The mortality experienced by cohorts of 28 630 oil refinery workers and 16 480 petroleum distribution workers has been investigated. Study subjects were all those male employees first employed in the period 1946–1974 at one of eight UK oil refineries or at one of 476 UK petroleum distribution centres; all subjects had a minimum of 12 months employment with some employment after 1 January 1951. The observed numbers of cause‐specific deaths were compared with expectations based on national mortality rates. The resultant standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were significantly below 100 for all causes, in both oil refinery workers (observed, 9341; expected, 10 649.7; SMR = 88) and petroleum distribution workers (observed, 6083; expected, 6460.3; SMR = 94). Significantly elevated SMRs were shown in oil refinery workers for cancer of the gall bladder (observed, 24; expected, 14.0; SMR = 172), cancer of the pleura (observed, 38; expected, 15.0; SMR = 254) and melanoma (observed, 36; expected, 22.2; SMR = 162). Significantly elevated SMRs were not found in petroleum distribution workers for any site of cancer. SMRs for selected causes of death were calculated by period from commencing employment, by year of hire and by job type. The only findings that suggested the presence of an occupational cancer hazard were an excess of mesothelioma in oil refinery workers and an excess of leukaemia in petroleum distribution workers, both excesses occurring in long‐term follow‐up for workers first employed >30 years ago.

Keywords: Cancer mortality; oil refinery workers; petroleum distribution workers

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Occupational Medicine

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