Cause-specific mortality in the unionized U.S. trucking industry

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Cause-specific mortality in the unionized U.S. trucking industry

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Title: Cause-specific mortality in the unionized U.S. trucking industry
Author: Laden, Francine; Hart, Jaime Elizabeth; Smith, Thomas J.; Davis, Mary E.; Garshick, Eric

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Citation: Laden, Francine, Jaime E. Hart, Thomas J. Smith, Mary E. Davis, and Eric Garshick. 2007. Cause-specific mortality in the unionized U.S. trucking industry. Environmental Health Perspectives 115(8): 1192-1196.
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Abstract: Background: Occupational and population-based studies have related exposure to fine particulate air pollution, and specifically particulate matter from vehicle exhausts, to cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer. Objectives: We have established a large retrospective cohort to assess mortality in the unionized U.S. trucking industry. To provide insight into mortality patterns associated with job-specific exposures, we examined rates of cause-specific mortality compared with the general U.S. population. Methods: We used records from four national trucking companies to identify 54,319 male employees employed in 1985. Cause-specific mortality was assessed through 2000 using the National Death Index. Expected numbers of all and cause-specific deaths were calculated stratifying by race, 10-year age group, and calendar period using U.S. national reference rates. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for the entire cohort and by job title. Results: As expected in a working population, we found a deficit in overall and all-cancer mortality, likely due to the healthy worker effect. In contrast, compared with the general U.S. population, we observed elevated rates for lung cancer, ischemic heart disease, and transport-related accidents. Lung cancer rates were elevated among all drivers (SMR = 1.10; 95% CI, 1.02–1.19) and dockworkers (SMR = 1.10; 95% CI, 0.94–1.30); ischemic heart disease was also elevated among these groups of workers [drivers, SMR = 1.49 (95% CI, 1.40–1.59); dockworkers, SMR = 1.32 (95% CI, 1.15–1.52)], as well as among shop workers (SMR = 1.34; 95% CI, 1.05–1.72). Conclusions: In this detailed assessment of specific job categories in the U.S. trucking industry, we found an excess of mortality due to lung cancer and ischemic heart disease, particularly among drivers.
Published Version: doi:10.1289/ehp.10027
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