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Differences in mortality by radiation monitoring status in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers

Sharon Silver, MS, Robert D Daniels, BS, and Mary Schubauer-Berigan, PHD. Health-Related Energy Research Branch, NIOSH, 5555 Ridge Ave, MS-R44, Cincinnati, OH 45213, 513-841-4313, zre4@cdc.gov

Previous studies at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS) yielded conflicting results for leukemia and lung cancer mortality. We examined standardized mortality and risk ratios (SMRs and SRRs) in an expanded cohort of PNS workers employed between January 1, 1952 and December 31, 1992 and followed through 1996. The all-cause SMR was 0.95 (95% confidence interval 0.93-0.96). SMRs were elevated with confidence intervals excluding 1.00 for lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and all cancers combined. Leukemia mortality was not elevated overall but exhibited a statistically significant positive linear trend with increasing cumulative external dose in SRR analyses. However, effects of solvent exposure could not be assessed at the cohort level. Several findings differed markedly by radiation monitoring status. Excess asbestosis deaths were limited to radiation workers, while several smoking-related causes of death had higher elevations among non-monitored workers. At PNS, asbestos exposure and possibly smoking, may be non-randomly distributed with respect to radiation exposure, suggesting potential for confounding in internal analyses of an occupational cohort. The effects of several potential confounders are being explored in nested lung cancer and leukemia case-control studies.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Occupational Exposure, Radiation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Dangerous Work: Occupational Epidemiology

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA