Translated title of the contribution: Mortality experience among newspaper workers

P. A. Bertazzi, C. Zocchetti, M. Della Foglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The workers of the vanloading and dispatch department of a newspaper plant had reported a 'high' frequency of tumours amongst their work fellows. A study of the working environment did not reveal any known carcinogenic substances. A mortality study was therefore carried out to verify the existence and extent of risk. Workers employed between 1940 and 1955 with at least 5 years sevice alive at 31.12.1955 were admitted to study: 700 workers, for a total of 12,198 person-years, satisfied this requirement. motality was studied in the period 1956-1975. As a reference, mortality of the national population was used. The variables considered in the study were: cause of death, age and year of death, work department, years of service and age at start of employment. Total mortality was not lower than mortality for the whole country (SMR = 108). Significantly high SMR's were found among these aged 25-54 years for all causes (SMR = 175) and cardiovascular diseases (SMR = 222). The increased mortality for tumours (totals and per site) was not significant in the population. In the van-loading and dispatch department, a significant SMR was obtained for tumours and for respiratory tumours (SMR = 310), but only among these aged 55-74 years for tumours of the trachea, bronchi and lungs (SMR = 309). No relationship was found between mortality from tumours and length of service, while significant excesses for tumours, respiratory tumours and tumours of the larynx were observed among the workers who started service at the age of 35-44 years. The average interval between start of work and death was about 20 years for all tumours considered. Mortality for cardiovascular diseases was also significantly high in the dispatch department; for cardiovascular disease - SMR = 158; ischemic diseases and disturbances in cardiac rhythm - SMR = 213. Mortality for the latter diseases among these aged 25-54 years was significantly increased also in the whole population; in addition, mortality was associated with length of service and young age at sart of work. Mortality for gastrointestinal disease was increased only for workers who had died before the age of 55 with more than 20 years service (SMR = 600) and who had started the job before 24 years of age (SMR = 444). The workers' doubts were therefore confirmed by this study. This means that further investigations are necessary as well as more effective preventive measures for the whole working environment. An important role is undoubtedly played by the private habits of the workers, influenced by the nature of the work itself, i.e., shiftwork, nightwork, stress, monotony, etc.

Translated title of the contributionMortality experience among newspaper workers
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)421-437
Number of pages17
JournalMedicina del Lavoro
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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