An Updated Study of Mortality Among North American Synthetic Rubber Industry Workers

This study by Dr. Elizabeth Delzell and colleagues is the first major update of the most extensive human study to date of potential carcinogenic effects of 1,3-butadiene (BD). The earlier study investigated mortality among the largest occupational group exposed to BD: 18,000 men employed in the styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) industry between 1944 and 1991. In the current study, these workers were followed for an additional 7 years and the effects of exposure to other compounds were evaluated. The study aimed to (1) determine if employment in the SBR industry is associated with mortality from specific causes; and (2) evaluate if exposure to BD, or styrene, or a "stopping agent" used in the process (dimethyldithiocarbamate) is related to death from leukemia, other cancers of the lymphatic and blood-forming systems, or other selected cancers.