Cancer mortality among man-made vitreous fiber production workers

Paolo Boffetta*, Rodolfo Saracci, Aage Andersen, Pier A. Bertazzi, Jenny Chang-Claude, John Cherrie, Gilles Ferro, Reiner Frentzel-Beyme, Johnni Hansen, Jørgen Olsen, Nils Plato, Lyly Teppo, Peter Westerholm, Paul D. Winter, Carlo Zocchetti

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    85 Citations (Scopus)


    We have updated the follow-up of cancer mortality for a cohort study of man-made vitreous fiber production workers from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy, from 1982 to 1990. In the mortality analysis, 22,002 production workers contributed 489,551 person- years, during which there were 4,521 deaths. Workers with less than 1 year of employment had an increased mortality [standardized mortality ratio (SMR) = 1.45; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.37-1.53]. Workers with 1 year or more of employment, contributing 65% of person-years, had an SMR of 1.05 (95% CI = 1.02-1.09). The SMR for lung cancer was 1.34 (95% CI = 1.08-1.63, 97 deaths) among rock/slag wool workers and 1.27 (95% CI = 1.07-1.50, 140 deaths) among glass wool workers. In the latter group, no increase was present when local mortality rates were used. Among rock/slag wool workers, the risk of lung cancer increased with time-since-first-employment and duration of employment. The trend in lung cancer mortality according to technologic phase at first employment was less marked than in the previous follow-up. We obtained similar results from a Poisson regression analysis limited to rock/slag wool workers. Five deaths from pleural mesothelioma were reported, which may not represent an excess. There was no apparent excess for other categories of neoplasm. Tobacco smoking and other factors linked to social class, as well as exposures in other industries, appear unlikely to explain the whole increase in lung cancer mortality among rock/slag wool workers. Limited data on other agents do not indicate an important role of asbestos, slag, or bitumen. These results are not sufficient to conclude that the increased lung cancer risk is the result of exposure to rock/slag wool; however, insofar as respirable fibers were an important component of the ambient pollution of the working environment, they may have contributed to the increased risk.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)259-268
    Number of pages10
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


    • cohort study
    • lung cancer
    • man-made mineral fibers
    • man-made vitreous fibers
    • mesothelioma
    • occupational diseases

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Epidemiology


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