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Employment Characteristics and Cause-Specific Mortality at Automotive Electronics Manufacturing Plants in Huntsville, Alabama

Citation

DeBono, Nathan L.; Richardson, David B.; Keil, Alexander P.; Kelly-Reif, Kaitlin; Robinson, Whitney R.; Troester, Melissa A.; & Marshall, Stephen W. (2019). Employment Characteristics and Cause-Specific Mortality at Automotive Electronics Manufacturing Plants in Huntsville, Alabama. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 62(4), 296-308.

Abstract

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.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22963

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2019

Journal Title

American Journal of Industrial Medicine

Author(s)

DeBono, Nathan L.
Richardson, David B.
Keil, Alexander P.
Kelly-Reif, Kaitlin
Robinson, Whitney R.
Troester, Melissa A.
Marshall, Stephen W.