Steel News

Outokumpu Exec's Long-Term Study on Cancer at Steel Mills Published in Medical Journal

11/21/2013 - The British Medical Journal has published an article by Outokumpu’s chief medical officer Markku Huvinen.
The article is based on his 30-year study and reports its findings on cancer incidence among ferrochrome and stainless steel production workers in Kemi and Tornio, Finland. The study shows that there is no added risk of cancer to individuals working in steel mills and living nearby.
Says Outokumpu CEO Mika Seitovirta: “We are extremely proud of Markku’s research and the work done by our health and safety team. Markku initiated the first systematic measurement in the world on the exposure to chromium and other compounds connected with stainless steel production. Safety comes first in all our operations – we want our employees to return home safely at the end of their working day. If we cannot remove all risks, we make every effort to control them.”
The study assesses the risk of cancer, especially cancers of the lung and nose, since the start of the production in 1967 until 2011. The overall cancer incidence was similar as in general in the same region, and the lung cancer risk was actually lower.
Says Markku Huvinen: “When I started as doctor at Outokumpu in 1970s, one of the ferrochrome smelter workers came to my office, blew his nose and asked me, ‘What does this dust do to my health?’ It was a legitimate concern. I asked around about dust exposure in stainless steel production but to my surprise there was no scientific data available. I am glad that Outokumpu had the foresight to take this seriously and that our employees made it possible– this was a common effort of the employer and employees.”