Epidemiological study relating to an increased cancer risk occurring in foundries

Project No. VMBG 014


completed 11/1997


Under the aspect of a preventive health care as well as existing, unanswered questions relating to acknowledgment of occupational diseases foundry employees are suffering from, a corresponding study relating to the health risk of employees in the German foundry industry was performed.

Due to a wide variety of materials used and technical processes carried out, foundry workers are exposed correspondingly. In foundries, respirable gases, dusts and aerosols play an important role so that one can expect a wide spectrum of pollutants.

In the 80s, there was evidence of a possible accumulation of particular cancer forms (mouth base, larynx, bronchi, and stomach) in a foundry in southern Germany. With regard to possibly necessary occupational health measures, there was the necessity to perform an etiologic-epidemiologic study to clarify possible correlation between exposure and cancer frequency in German iron foundries.


With regard to the typical exposure condition, 37 representative iron foundries in 6 federal countries (old) were selected and included in the study. Then, a cohort (active and former employees of German and foreign nationality, of both sexes and having worked at least 12 months in the iron foundry) was established and the vital status of the cohort members was determined. Where persons had died in the meantime, the Public Health office at the place of death ascertained the cause of death. During the research project, the following criteria were taken into consideration: determination of the in-job exposure, analysis of the total cohort, analysis of the mortality in the working sections after calendar periods, mortality following accidents, poisoning and effects of violence.


The final report points out that the analysis of the studied data material can provide only insufficient information with regard to the cancer risk reduction one can expect after occupational health measure improvement. After completion of the study, it was not yet possible to make any statement on the efficiency of the implemented occupational health measures. Thus, several questions remained unanswered. According to the final report, it is recommended to let follow a "follow-up" after a certain time.

Further informations:

Last Update:

24 Oct 2005


Financed by:
  • VMBG - Vereinigung der Metall-Berufsgenossenschaften
Research institution(s):
  • IfG - Institut für Gießereitechnik GmbH
  • Düsseldorf BIPS - Bremer Institut für Präventionsforschung und Sozialmedizin DKFZ - Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
  • Abt. Epidemiologie
  • Heidelberg

metallurgical industry

Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


Berufskrankheit, Prävention, Arbeitsmedizinische Vorsorge

Description, key words:

health risk, carcinogenic substances, emission determination, degree of exposure to emission, exposure to pollutants at the workplace