A comprehensive study of disease conducted by The Dow Chemical Company revealed that employees had lower mortality rates when compared to national rates.

Dow's Epidemiology department conducted the study as part of its ongoing epidemiology surveillance program. The purpose was to establish whether working in a chemical company places employees at increased risk of disease.

“I believe the actions we take to both protect and enhance the health of Dow people such as these health studies are an integral part of our sustainability focus,” said Dr. Catherine Baase, Dow's global director of Health Services. “The study results should be encouraging to our employees.”

The study was conducted over a 45-year time frame on U.S. Dow and heritage UCC employees at 25 U.S. sites between 1960 and 2005. The research involved employee records and death certificates of former employees. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated for the 61 classifications of diseases that caused deaths.

The two leading causes of death among the 114,683 men and women in the study were heart disease and cancer. There were 20 percent less heart disease cases and 10 percent less cancer deaths than would be expected based upon U.S. statistics.

“This is one of the largest studies reported from a single company,” said Dr. Carol Burns, lead researcher for the study. “This data provides an option for internal reference rates for future studies of our employees.”