TALMAGE MONROE HOLMES, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Worker populations are potentially exposed to multiple chemical substances simultaneously during the performance of routine tasks. The acute health effects from exposure to toxic concentrations of these substances are usually well-described. However, very little is known about the long-term health effects of chronic low dose exposure to all except a few chemical substances. A mortality study was performed on a population of workers employed at a butyl rubber manufacturing plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the period 1943-1978, with special emphasis on potential exposure to methyl chloride. The study population was enumerated using company records. The mortality experience among the population was evaluated by comparing the number of observed deaths (total and cause-specific) to the expected number of deaths, based on the U.S. general age, race, sex specific rates. An internal comparison population was assembled to address the issue of lack of comparability when the U.S. rates are used to calculate expected deaths in an employed population. There were 18% fewer total observed deaths compared to the expected when the U.S. death rates were used to obtain the expected. Deaths from specific causes were also less than expected except when numbers of observed and expected deaths were small. Similar results were obtained when the population was characterized by intensity and duration of potential exposure to methyl chloride. When the internal comparison population was utilized to evaluate overall mortality of the study population, the relative risk was about 1.2. The study results were discussed and conclusions drawn in light of certain limitations of the methodology and study population size.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

HOLMES, TALMAGE MONROE, "A MORTALITY STUDY OF BUTYL-CHLOROBUTYL RUBBER WORKERS" (1981). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8212737.