Cancer mortality among petroleum refinery and chemical manufacturing workers in Texas

Sharon P. Cooper*, Darwin Labarthe, Thomas Downs, Keith Burau, Lawrence Whitehead, Sally Vernon, Margaret Spitz, Bonnie New, Alice Sigurdson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Epidemiologic historical cohort studies of petroleum refinery and chemical manufacturing workers in Texas were reviewed to examine their cancer mortality in comparison to the U.S. and to assess the possible impact of cancer mortality among these workers on the State of Texas as a whole. Summary standardized mortality ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for 20 cancer types, taking into account the heterogeneity of individual studies. There were 4314 cancer deaths among the 92,318 workers employed in 10 independent plant populations. Overall, there was a significant deficit in cancer mortality among petrochemical workers compared with the general U.S. population (SMR = 88, 95% CI = 80 to 96). Only the summary SMRs for brain cancer (SMR = 113, 95% CI = 96 to 133) and leukemias (SMR = 112, 95% CI = 94 to 130) approached statistical significance. Lung and liver cancer mortality excesses, noted for Texas as a whole, were decreased in these workers. Additional follow-up of these cohorts, their expansion to include minority and female workers, and additional study of possible occupational contributions to leukemia and brain cancer are recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • Cancer in petrochemical industry
  • Cancer mortality
  • Occupational cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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