Asbestos-related cancers in refinery workers in the Australian petroleum industry

Archives Environmental & Occupational Health. 2006 Jan-Feb;61(1):11-6. [Link]

Gun R, Pratt NL, Roder DM, Ryan P.

Department of Public Health, University of Adelaide, South Australia.


In this study of the incidence of asbestos-related cancer in the Australian petroleum industry, the authors traced a cohort of 16,543 petroleum industry workers for a total of 226,989 person-years. There were 18 cases of pleural mesothelioma; 12 occurred in refinery nonoffice workers, for whom the Standardized Incidence Ratio was 3.77 (95% confidence interval = 1.95-6.59). The incidence of lung cancer was significantly lower than that in the general male population. Lung cancer incidence was higher in maintenance workers than in nonmaintenance workers, but the excess was not statistically significant, as it was based on small numbers with wide confidence intervals. Lung cancer rates in refinery workers did not increase with duration of employment; however, they did tend to be higher in workers hired in earlier decades. Excess mesothelioma incidence in refinery workers is confirmed, but it is likely that there are few if any asbestos-related lung cancers.