Retrospective mortality and medical surveillance studies of workers in benzene areas of refineries

Shan P. Tsai, C. P. Wen, Nancy S. Weiss, Otto Wong, William A. McClellan, Roy L. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The mortality and health experiences of refinery workers employed in benzene processes or operations are described. A retrospective cohort mortality study of benzene workers employed from 1952 to 1978 revealed no excess in overall general mortality or in cancer mortality compared either with the experience of the U.S. general population or with that of an internal control group. Ascertainment of vital status was accomplished for 99% of the cohort. Recent industrial hygiene data that included 1,394 personal samples indicated that 84% of all benzene exposures were less than 7 part per million (ppm), with a median exposure of 0.14 ppm for the refinery workers, and 0.53 ppm for those in the benzene-related units. Among these workers, no deaths from leukemia were observed. A medical surveillance program for benzene workers is also described, with special emphasis on the effectiveness of laboratory screening. Evaluation of data for α 21-year period showed no significant changes in the blood indices of the workers as a group. The limited value of establishing screening guidelines without the support of epidemiological studies is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-692
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Occupational Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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