Occupational exposure and cancer incidence among workers from an aluminum smelter in western Norway. (9/621)

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the associations between specific cancers and occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), asbestos, electromagnetic fields, and heat in a cohort of workers from a Norwegian aluminum smelter. METHODS: Cancer incidence between 1953 and 1993 was observed for 2647 male short-term workers and 2 cohorts of men with at least 4 years' employment (2888 production workers and 373 maintenance workers). Standardized incidence ratios (SIR) were calculated from the national male cancer incidence, and associations with cumulative exposure were investigated by stratified analysis. Cumulative exposure in 15-year time windows was used as an alternative dose indicator. RESULTS: Investigation of the a priori hypotheses in the production cohort revealed a positive association between bladder cancer and PAH exposure 30 years or more before observation. The results also suggested an association between PAH and pancreatic cancer, although not statistically significant. No association was seen between exposure to PAH and cancers of the lungs or between magnetic field exposure and lymphatic and hematopoietic cancer. In the maintenance cohort there was a positive association between employment as an electrician and lymphatic and hematopoietic cancer and a statistically nonsignificant association between PAH and lung cancer. The short-term workers showed a statistically significant excess of lung cancer. CONCLUSIONS: The results support previous findings of an association between exposure to PAH and bladder cancer.  (+info)

Occupational risk factors of lung cancer: a hospital based case-control study. (10/621)

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the relation between lung cancer and exposure to occupational carcinogens in a highly industrialised region in western Europe. METHODS: In a case-control study 478 cases and 536 controls, recruited from 10 hospitals in the Antwerp region, were interviewed. Cases were male patients with histologically confirmed lung cancer; controls were male patients without cancer or primary lung diseases. Data were collected by questionnaires to obtain information on occupations, exposures, and smoking history. Job titles were coded with the Office of Populations, Censuses and Surveys industrial classification. Exposure was assessed by self report and by job-task exposure matrix. Exposure odds ratios were calculated with logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, smoking history, and marital and socio-economic status. RESULTS: A job history in the categories manufacturing of transport equipment other than automobiles (for example, shipyard workers), transport support services (for example, dockers), and manufacturing of metal goods (for example, welders) was significantly associated with lung cancer (odds ratios (ORs) 2.3, 1.6, and 1.6 respectively). These associations were independent of smoking, education, civil, and economic status. Self reported exposure to potential carcinogens did not show significant associations with lung cancer, probably due to nondifferential misclassification. When assessed by job-task exposure matrix, exposure to molybdenum, mineral oils, and chromium were significantly associated with lung cancer. A strong association existed between smoking and lung cancer: OR of ex-smokers 4.2, OR of current smokers 14.5 v non-smokers. However, smoking did not confound the relation between occupational exposure and lung cancer. CONCLUSIONS: The study has shown a significant excess risk of lung cancer among workers in manufacturing of metal goods, manufacturing of transport equipment (other than automobiles), and transport support services. Assessment of exposure to specific carcinogens resulted in significant associations of chromium, mineral oils, and molybdenum with lung cancer. This study is, to our knowledge, the first study reporting a significant association between occupational exposure to molybdenum and lung cancer.  (+info)

Lack of combined effects of exposure and smoking on respiratory health in aluminium potroom workers. (11/621)

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the combined influence on respiratory health of smoking and exposure in an aluminium potroom. METHODS: In a cross sectional study of 75 potroom workers (23 never smokers, 38 current smokers, 14 ex-smokers) and 56 controls in the same plant (watchmen, craftsmen, office workers, laboratory employees; 18 non-smokers, 21 current smokers, 17 ex-smokers), prevalences of respiratory symptoms and spirometric indices were compared. RESULTS: Smokers in the potroom group had a lower prevalence of respiratory symptoms than never smokers or ex-smokers, which was significant for wheezing (2.6% v 17.4% and 28.6% respectively, both p < 0.01), whereas respiratory symptoms in controls tended to be highest in smokers (NS). No effects of potroom work on the prevalence of respiratory symptoms could be detected. In potroom workers, impairment of lung function due to occupational exposure was found only in non-smokers, with lower results for forced vital capacity (FVC) (98.8% predicted), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (96.1% predicted) and peak expiratory flow (PEF) (80.2% predicted) compared with controls (114.2, 109.9, and 105.9% predicted; each p < 0.001). Conversely, effects of smoking on lung function were only detectable in non-exposed controls (current smokers v non-smokers: FVC 98.8% v 114.2% predicted; p < 0.01; FEV1 95.5 v 109.9% predicted; p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: In a cross sectional survey such as this, the effects of both smoking and occupational exposure on respiratory health may be masked in subjects with both risk factors. This is probably due to strong selection processes which result in least susceptible subjects continuing to smoke and working in an atmosphere with respiratory irritants.  (+info)

Application of mixed models to assess exposures monitored by construction workers during hot processes. (12/621)

Particulate exposures were assessed among construction workers engaged in hot processes in four jobs (boilermakers, ironworkers, pipefitters and welder-fitters) at nine sites in the U.S. After being trained by occupational hygienists, the workers obtained shift-long personal samples at each site for total particulates (TP). Selected samples were also assayed for manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), and chromium (Cr). Workers provided information about process- and task-related covariates that were present on the days of monitoring. Data were investigated with mixed-model regression analyses that designated the jobs and covariates as fixed effects and the worker and error terms as random effects. Results indicated that the within-worker variance components, but not the between-worker variance components, could be pooled among jobs. Mean air levels for a given agent varied by roughly six to 100 fold among the jobs, with boilermakers and ironworkers experiencing much higher levels of TP and Mn than pipefitters and welder-fitters. Limited data also suggested that welder-fitters were exposed to greater levels of Ni and Cr than pipefitters. Sufficient sample sizes were available to evaluate the effects of covariates upon exposures to TP and Mn. As expected, processes involving more than 50% hot work led to substantially higher levels of TP and Mn than those involving shorter durations of hot work. Local-exhaust or mechanical ventilation reduced exposure to TP (but not Mn) by as much as 44%, and shielded or manual arc welding increased exposure to Mn (but not TP) by about 80%. Parameters estimated with these mixed models were used to calculate probabilities that workers were exposed at levels above U.S. occupational exposure limits (OELs). Regarding TP and Mn, these calculations suggested that 26-95% of exposures to boilermakers and pipefitters and 2-13% of exposures to pipefitters and welder-fitters exceeded the current Threshold Limit Values. Among welder-fitters, limited data also pointed to probabilities of 2-50% for exceeding particular OELs for Ni and Cr. Using the significance of the estimated random-worker effects as a gauge for the uniformity of exposure within a job, administrative or engineering changes appear appropriate for reducing exposures to boilermakers and ironworkers, while individual personal environments should be investigated for pipefitters and welder-fitters.  (+info)

Size distribution of bacterial and fungal bioaerosols in indoor air. (13/621)

The aim of this study was to determine the size distribution of bacteria and fungi occurring in the air of human dwellings. The concentration and size distribution of particulate aerosol, Gram-positive mesophilic bacteria, Gram-negative mesophilic bacteria and fungi were examined in 60 flats situated in the Upper Silesia conurbation, southern Poland. The investigated flats comprised three quantitatively equal (20 flats each) groups: flats without additional emission sources of particulate aerosol and microorganisms (Group I), flats with persons who smoke at least one packet of cigarettes per day (Group II), and flats located near steelworks (Group III). The concentrations of four fractions of particulate aerosol were measured by Harvard impactors (PM 2.5 and PM 10) as well as by cyclone HD and 37 mm filter disc holder (PM 5 and TSP). The concentrations of bacteria and fungi were measured by a particle-sizing six-stage Graseby-Andersen impactor. It was found that the concentrations of particulate aerosol in examined flats were below 0.6 mg/m.(3) and the concentrations of microorganisms were below the level of 10(4) cfu/m.(3). The dominant bacteria present in the air of examined dwellings (Micrococcus/Kocuria spp., Staphylococcus spp., Bacillus spp., Pseudomonadaceae, Aeromonas spp., Nocardia spp.) occurred mostly as single particles in the dwellings without additional emission sources, while in the air of dwellings inhabited by tobacco smokers, they often formed aggregates composed of bacterial and dust particles. The fungi dominant in the air of examined dwellings (Penicillium spp., Aspergillus spp., yeasts) occurred mostly as single particles.  (+info)

Does arsenic exposure increase the risk for circulatory disease? (14/621)

Studies of residents in communities with high endemic concentrations of arsenic in drinking water suggest a deleterious effect on the circulatory system; however, studies among workers with high occupational exposures generally have shown either no or weak associations. This discrepancy could be a result of the healthy worker effect, including the healthy hire component and the healthy worker survivor effect (HWSE). Therefore, the authors conducted analyses of arsenic exposure in relation to circulatory disease mortality among 2,802 Tacoma, Washington, smelter workers by using 1) internal comparisons to control for the healthy hire effect and 2) the lagging method, adjustment for employment status, and the G-null test to control for the HWSE. Both lagging and adjustment for work status increased circulatory mortality rate ratios at all exposure levels, as compared with a baseline Poisson model. This excess mortality was limited to cardiovascular disease; no excess was observed for cerebrovascular disease. G-null analyses suggested no adverse effect, but power was very limited for this analysis. Overall, these results may indicate that the HWSE obscures an effect of arsenic on circulatory disease. Since cardiovascular deaths constitute about one-third of total mortality, small rate ratios translate into large numbers of excess deaths and, if causal, could be of wide public health significance. Further studies of arsenic exposure and cardiovascular disease are needed, and those conducted in occupational cohorts must control for the HWSE.  (+info)

Respiratory abnormalities among male foundry workers in central Taiwan. (15/621)

The objectives of this study were to determine the relationship between exposure levels and respiratory abnormalities, to measure FVC and FEV1(1) changes per year based on work duties and to investigate the prevalence of and factors related to pneumoconiosis. A total of 583 male workers from 50 iron foundries in central Taiwan were investigated. First, workers' respiratory symptoms were categorized using a modified American Thoracic Society (ATS) questionnaire and then were verified by physician's examination. Next, pulmonary function tests were performed including: forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced expiratory flow rate. A chest radiograph was used to diagnose pneumoconiosis according to ILO criteria. Furnace workers were found to have the highest prevalence of chronic phlegm, thoracic disorders and chronic bronchitis. In general, smokers had a higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms as compared with non-smokers. Pulmonary function abnormalities and pneumoconiosis were closely linked to smoking and work duration. After adjusting for age, height and smoking there was a significant decrease based on work duration in FVC and FEV1 for furnace and moulding workers compared with after-processing and administrative workers. The overall prevalence of pneumoconiosis was 8.8%, highest among furnace (16.3%) and after-processing workers (11.4%) and lowest among administrative workers (2.5%). Using multiple logistic regression, the risk of developing pneumoconiosis (as compared with the administrative workers) for furnace workers was highest (8.98 times greater risk), followed by after-processing workers (6.77 times greater risk) and moulding workers (5.41 times greater risk). Prolonged exposure to free silica, and smoking habits, can result in respiratory abnormalities among foundry workers.  (+info)

Blood lead levels in copper smelter workers in Japan. (16/621)

Lead exposure of workers in a Japanese copper smelter was assessed by determining lead levels in blood, air and flue cinder at the copper smelting processes. All the samples were analyzed for lead by atomic absorption spectrometry. Mean lead levels of air were highest at the anode department followed by the converter, smelter and blend departments. The mean level of blood lead of the workers in the anode department was also the highest among the four smelting departments. The mean blood lead levels of the workers in each department were positively correlated with their air lead levels (r = 0.99, p < 0.01). This study indicates therefore that workers in copper smelters have been exposed to lead in their workplace. Though this finding has already been reported in preceding studies, the Ordinance on Prevention of Lead Poisoning in Japan has not included copper smelter into its target job categories if their lead concentration in the raw material is less than 3%. The limitation of the present Ordinance which defines the targets by the types of job and not by the actual exposure, is discussed.  (+info)