Chiazze et al. (1997) conducted a historical cohort mortality study of a continuous-filament glass-fiber manufacturing plant in Anderson, South Carolina. The investigation was undertaken in light of evidence of a statistically significant increase in the proportionate mortality ratio for lung cancer among white men at the plant. A nested case-control study of lung-cancer deaths among white men was incorporated into the study design. Information on sociodemographic factors—including smoking, alcohol consumption, and medical history—was obtained through an interview survey; exposure assessments for respirable glass fibers, total particles, asbestos, RCF, respirable silica, formaldehyde, total chrome, and arsenic were gathered through reconstruction of historical data. Respirable glass fibers were produced at the plant only in 1963-1968. Lung-cancer odds ratios (ORs) among workers exposed to respirable glass fibers were below unity, as were ORs for exposures to asbestos, RCF, respirable silica (except for the lowest exposure level), total chrome, and arsenic. Those results suggest that none of the plant exposures resulted in an increase in lung-cancer risk for this population, although the lung cancer standardized mortality ratio (SMR) is slightly increased (observed, 47; SMR, 126). The authors conclude that neither glass fibers nor any of the substances investigated as part of the plant environment were associated with an increase in lung-cancer risk in the study population.
In a separate cohort study conducted at the same continuous-filament glass-fiber plant in Anderson, South Carolina, Watkins et al. (1997) examined mortality in women and minority groups. The study population consisted of 1074 white women, 130 black women, and 494 black men who worked at least one year from the opening of the plant in 1951 through 1991. The women made up the largest cohort of white women assembled to date in a wool or continuous-filament glass-fiber manufacturing facility, and this was the first study of black men and women in the MVF industry. Over 95% of the women and minority-group members included in the study held production positions in the plant. Results of the analyses demonstrated that there were no significant excesses or deficits in mortality among white women by cause of death—including cancer—compared with national mortality, except for motor vehicle accidents. Among black men, SMRs for all cancers combined were below unity on the basis of local and national standards; and lung-cancer SMRs