Lead exposure in the lead-acid storage battery manufacturing and PVC compounding industries.
This study was conducted as part of the Human Exposure Assessment Location (HEAL) Project which comes under the United Nations Environment Programme/World Health Organisation (UNEP/WHO) Global environmental Monitoring System (GEMS). The objective of the study was to evaluate workers' exposure to lead in industries with the highest exposure. All subjects were interviewed about their occupational and smoking histories, the use of personal protective equipment and personal hygiene. The contribution of a dietary source of lead intake from specified foods known to contain lead locally and personal air sampling for lead were assessed. A total of 61 workers from two PVC compounding and 50 workers from two lead acid battery manufacturing plants were studied together with 111 matched controls. In the PVC compounding plants the mean lead-in-air level was 0.0357 mg/m3, with the highest levels occurring during the pouring and mixing operations. This was lower than the mean lead-in-air level of 0.0886 mg/m3 in the lead battery manufacturing plants where the highest exposure was in the loading of lead ingots into milling machines. Workers in lead battery manufacturing had significantly higher mean blood lead than the PVC workers (means, 32.51 and 23.91 mcg/100 ml respectively), but there was poor correlation with lead-in-air levels. Among the lead workers, the Malays had significantly higher blood lead levels than the Chinese (mean blood levels were 33.03 and 25.35 mcg/100 ml respectively) although there was no significant difference between the two ethnic groups in the control group. There were no significant differences between the exposed and control group in terms of dietary intake of specified local foods known to contain lead. However, Malays consumed significantly more fish than the Chinese did. There were no ethnic differences in the hours of overtime work, number of years of exposure, usage of gloves and respirators and smoking habits. Among the Malays, 94.3% eat with their hands compared with 9.2% of the Chinese. Workers who ate with bare hands at least once a week had higher blood lead levels after adjusting for lead-in-air levels (mean blood lead was 30.2 and 26.4 mcg/100 ml respectively). The study indicated that the higher blood lead levels observed in the Malay workers might have been due to their higher exposure and eating with bare hands. (+info)
Cancer mortality and morbidity among plutonium workers at the Sellafield plant of British Nuclear Fuels.
The mortality of all 14 319 workers employed at the Sellafield plant of British Nuclear Fuels between 1947 and 1975 was studied up to the end of 1992, and cancer incidence was examined from 1971 to 1986, in relation to their exposures to plutonium and to external radiation. The cancer mortality rate was 5% lower than that of England and Wales and 3% less than that of Cumbria. The significant excesses of deaths from cancer of the pleura and thyroid found in an earlier study persist with further follow-up (14 observed, 4.0 expected for pleura; 6 observed, 2.2 expected for thyroid). All of the deaths from pleural cancer were among radiation workers. For neither site was there a significant association between the risk of the cancer and accumulated radiation dose. There were significant deficits of deaths from cancers of mouth and pharynx, liver and gall bladder, and larynx and leukaemia when compared with the national rates. Among all radiation workers, there was a significant positive association between accumulated external radiation dose and mortality from cancers of ill-defined and secondary sites (10-year lag, P = 0.04), leukaemia (no lag, P = 0.03; 2-year lag, P = 0.05), multiple myeloma (20-year lag, P = 0.02), all lymphatic and haematopoietic cancers (20-year lag, P= 0.03) and all causes of death combined (20-year lag, P= 0.008). Among plutonium workers, there were significant excesses of deaths from cancer of the breast (6 observed, 2.6 expected) and ill-defined and secondary cancers (29 observed, 20.1 expected). No significant positive trends were observed between the risk of deaths from cancers of any specific site, or all cancers combined, and cumulative plutonium and external radiation doses. For no cancer site was there a significant excess of cancer registrations compared with rates for England and Wales. Analysis of trends in cancer incidence showed significant increases in risk with cumulative plutonium plus external radiation doses for all lymphatic and haematopoietic neoplasms for 0-, 10- and 20-year lag periods. Taken as a whole, our findings do not suggest that workers at Sellafield who have been exposed to plutonium are at an overall significantly increased risk of cancer compared with other radiation workers. (+info)
Button battery impaction in nasal cavity.
A button battery inserted in the nose of children is an unusual foreign body which is capable of causing extensive tissue damage, resulting from electrical and chemical burns. We report a case of button battery in the nose of a 4-year-old boy presenting with unilateral nasal discharge, and necrosis in the septum and turbinate of the right nasal cavity. Mercury level in concentrated urine was within normal limit. Microscopic examination disclosed extensive liquefaction necrosis with calcification and fibrosis. Numerous dark brown to black granules were noted in the elastic and collagen fibers and interstitium. Dark-field examination of the section revealed brilliantly refractile granules. Polarized microscopy failed to show the granules. Most brown pigments reacted to prussian blue. Tissue mercury analysis yielded a mercury content of 8.01 ppm. We report this case to emphasize the hazards of button battery impaction and to draw attention to the significance of the problem through histopathologic examination. (+info)
Are children living near high-voltage power lines at increased risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia?
In the National Cancer Institute/Children's Cancer Group case-control study of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (1989-1993), living in a home with a high-voltage wire code was not associated with disease risk. To further investigate risk near power lines, the authors analyzed distance to transmission and three-phase primary distribution lines within 40 m of homes and created an exposure index of distance and strength of multiple power lines (408 case-control pairs). Neither distance nor exposure index was related to risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, although both were associated with in-home magnetic field measurements. Residence near high-voltage lines did not increase risk. (+info)
Childhood cancer and residential proximity to power lines. UK Childhood Cancer Study Investigators.
In the United Kingdom Childhood Cancer Study, a population-based case-control study covering the whole of England, Scotland and Wales, measured power-frequency magnetic fields were not found to be associated with risk for any malignancy. To examine further the risk associated with residential proximity to electricity supply equipment, distances to high-voltage lines, underground cables, substations and distribution circuits were collected for 3380 cases and 3390 controls. Magnetic field exposure from this equipment was calculated using distance, load and other circuit information. There was no evidence that either proximity to electrical installations or the magnetic field levels they produce in the UK is associated with increased risk of childhood leukaemia or any other cancer. Odds ratios of 0.73 (95% CI = 0.42-1.26) for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, 0.75 (95% CI = 0.45-1.25) for all leukaemias, 1.08 (95% CI = 0.56-2.09) for central nervous system cancers and 0.92 (95% CI = 0.64-1.34) for all malignancies were obtained for residence within 50 m of an overhead line. When individuals with a calculated magnetic field exposure > or = 0.2 microT were compared to those in a reference category of exposure <0.1 microT, odds ratios of 0.51 (95% CI = 0.11-2.33) for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, 0.41 (95% CI = 0. 09-1.87) for total leukaemia, 0.48 (95% CI =0.06-3.76) for central nervous system cancers and 0.62 (95% CI = 0.24-1.61) for all malignancies were obtained. (+info)
Enhancing longevity of pacemakers through reprogramming. Underutilization and cost-effectiveness.
OBJECTIVE: This study was performed to observe the number of pacemakers that had never been reprogrammed after implantation, and the effect of optimised output programming on estimated longevity of pulse generators in patients with pacemaker METHODS: Sixty patients with Teletronics Reflex pacemakers were evaluated in a pacemaker clinic, from the time of the beginning of its activities, in June 1998, until March 1999. Telemetry was performed during the first clinic visit, and we observed how many pulse generators retained nominal output settings of the manufactures indicating the absence of reprogramming until that date. After evaluation of the capture threshold, reprogramming of pacemakers was performed with a safety margin of 2 to 2.5:1, and we compared the estimated longevity based on battery current at the manufacturer's settings with that based on settings achieved after reprogramming. RESULTS: In 95% of the cases, the original programmed setting was never reprogrammed before the patients attended the pacemaker clinic. Reprogramming the pacemaker prolonged estimated pulse generator life by 19.7+/-15.6 months (35.5%). CONCLUSION: The majority of the pacemakers evaluated had never been reprogrammed. Estimated pulse generator longevity can be prolonged significantly, using this simple, safe, efficacious, and cost-effective procedure. (+info)
Electric accidents in the production, transmission, and distribution of electric energy: a review of the literature.
Many work related electric accidents occurred in electric energy industries and they were very often fatal. The situation of electric accidents in electric companies worldwide is investigated by reviewing the scientific literature, to offer perspectives on the types and kinds of statistics available, the factors regarded as influencing their occurrence, their consequences, and also methodological shortcomings. Worldwide, reliable comparable data exist and indicate a downward trend in fatal electric accidents. Difficulties were encountered in compiling international statistics because of differences in how accident data were defined and recorded, variations in mandatory practices, lack of suitable data and indices, accident insurance systems, and lack of correlation between technical, financial, and medical aspects. (+info)
Button battery ingestion: an analysis of 25 cases.
BACKGROUND: Button batteries represent a distinct type of foreign body. Serious complications can be resulted, particularly when the battery is impacted in the esophagus. The potentially detrimental effects of button battery ingestion have often been overlooked in Taiwan. We surveyed patients following button battery ingestion to define the characteristics and outcomes of this population. METHODS: The records of 25 patients with button battery ingestion that had been reported to the Taipei Veterans General Hospital Poison Control Center from July 1988 through January 1998 were retrospectively reviewed. RESULTS: Button battery ingestion occurred most commonly in male children (N=20; 80%) and children under 3 years of age (N= 19; 76%). Most children were asymptomatic (N=22; 88%). Two children suffered abdominal pain, and one suffered dyspnea and stridor. Reported complications included black stools (N=3) and tracheoesophageal fistula formation (N= 1). Two children underwent endoscopic battery removal, and batteries passed the entire gastrointestinal tract in all other subjects. The interval between battery ingestion and passage when documented (N= 16) was never more than 5 days. CONCLUSION: Most ingested batteries passed through the gastrointestinal tract without any adverse effects. An initial roentgenogram should be obtained promptly to determine battery location and diameter, and the battery's chemical composition should be determined when possible. Esophageal impaction of the batteries requires emergency endoscopic or surgical removal. For patients without esophageal impaction, conservative intervention is recommended in the absence of symptoms and signs of injury. (+info)