Employment characteristics and cause-specific mortality at automotive electronics manufacturing plants in Huntsville, Alabama.
BACKGROUND: This study was carried out in response to worker concerns over their exposure to lead solder and chlorinated solvents at automotive electronics manufacturing plants in Huntsville, Alabama. METHODS: A study of 4396 United Autoworkers members ever-employed at the plants between 1972 and 1993 was conducted with mortality follow-up through 2016. Poisson regression was used to estimate mortality rate ratios (RR) according to employment characteristics, including calendar period of employment. RESULTS: Pre-1977 hires exhibited elevated adjusted rates of all-cause (RR, 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09-1.52), cardiovascular (RR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.03-1.86), and digestive system (RR, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.04-5.10) disease mortality relative to the most recent hire group (1984-1993). Never- versus ever-employment in a skilled trade job was associated with elevated adjusted rates of all-cause, all-cancer, and cardiovascular disease mortality. Nervous system disorder mortality was greatest among 1977-1983 hires. CONCLUSIONS: Elevated mortality among pre-1977 hires is consistent with worker concerns over greater exposure to hazards at the original plant building.
DeBono, N; Richardson, D; Keil, A; Kelly-Reif, K; Robinson, W; Troester, M; Marshall, S
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