Cohort study of art glass workers in Tuscany, Italy: mortality from non-malignant diseases.
This investigation studies cause-specific mortality of art glass workers employed in 17 industrial facilities in Tuscany, Italy. A cohort of 3,390 workers employed for at least 1 year was enumerated from company payrolls. Follow-up was between the start of employment in each factory and 31 December 1993. The cause-specific expected mortality was computed relative to Tuscany rates and specified for gender, 5-year age groups and calendar year. Separate analyses were carried out for the jobs of makers and formers and for batch mixers. Among males (3, 180 individuals) observed mortality for non-cancer causes was higher than expected for hypertensive disease [standardized mortality ratio (SMR) = 178, 90% confidence interval (90% CI) = 96-301], pneumoconiosis (SMR = 200, 90% CI = 94-376) and diseases of the genitourinary system (SMR = 169, 90% CI = 95-279). Increases for the above causes were shown also among makers and formers: hypertensive disease (SMR = 182, 90% CI = 85-341), pneumoconiosis (SMR = 250, 90% CI = 109-493) and diseases of the genitourinary system (SMR = 224, 90% CI = 121-380). For batch mixers an increase was present for cerebrovascular disease. The observed mortality for cancer causes was above the expected for cancers of the larynx, lung, stomach and brain. This study points to the existence for Tuscan glass workers of health effects in addition to cancer; previously observed carcinogenic effects were also confirmed. (+info)
Airways inflammation among workers in a paper industry.
Exposure to organic dusts may cause airways inflammation in a large proportion of exposed persons. Most studies have relied on questionnaires and spirometry for diagnosis. To assess the possibility of determining the presence of inflammation using clinical diagnostic procedures, a study was undertaken among workers in a paper industry. Participants were 83 workers and 44 controls. Airborne endotoxin and (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan levels at the worksites were determined. The effects of this exposure were evaluated using a questionnaire, spirometry and measurements of airway responsiveness (methacholine) and levels of eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), myeloperoxidase (MPO), and C-reactive protein (CRP) in serum. The workers had a decreased baseline forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and an increased airway responsiveness compared with controls. The concentrations of ECP and MPO were elevated compared with controls. There was a relation between exposure to endotoxin and (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan and airway responsiveness as well as ECP levels, when controlling for age, sex, smoking habits, atopy and asthma. The results suggest an increased prevalence of subjective respiratory symptoms, and an increased airway responsiveness among exposed workers. There was also a relationship between the serum concentration of eosinophil cationic protein and airway responsiveness. Taken together, the results suggest the presence of airways inflammation in the workers. (+info)
Pneumoconiosis among Cretan dental technicians.
Pneumoconiosis among dental technicians has recently emerged as an area of research in interstitial lung disease. This study was carried out to estimate the prevalence of pneumoconiosis in Greek dental technicians on the island of Crete. Fifty-one of the 58 dental technicians of the Heraklion Dental Technicians' Association completed an exposure history questionnaire and underwent a clinical examination, including chest radiographs, and spirometric assessment of lung volume and diffusing capacity. Values were compared with 51 control subjects. Five dental technicians showed radiological evidence of pneumoconiosis. Mean lung function values of the dental technicians, even in those with pneumoconiosis, were not significantly different from controls. No significant changes in lung function parameters were associated with smoking, exposure to metals and other contaminants. Dental technicians, however, reported more respiratory symptoms than controls (p = 0.008). Symptoms were associated to the absence of a ventilation system. We concluded that occupational exposure in dental technicians in Crete did not affect lung function. The prevalence of pneumoconiosis in this study was 9. 8%. (+info)
Clinical, pathological and mineralogical features in two autopsy cases of workers exposed to agalmatolite dust.
An agalmatolite miner and processor showed large shadows at the bilateral hila accompanied by surrounding emphysematous changes and irregular shadows on chest X-ray films. Chest CT scans were characterized by a mixture of tiny irregular structures and small round opacities. Histopathological examination revealed massive fibrosis, which corresponded to large shadows, but only a small number of typical silicotic nodules, indicating mixed dust pneumoconiosis. Mineralogical examination of the autopsy lungs showed quartz, pyrophyllite, mica, and kaolinite. Quartz accounted for 70% of the amount of all mineral dust in both patients, but pyrophyllite accounted for 10.8% and 14.4%. The pulmonary mineral dust composition in the two patients was well consistent with the mineral composition of the raw clays in the agalmatolite mine. In the two patients, chest X-ray findings and histopathological findings of the lungs also suggested agalmatolite pneumoconiosis, which was confirmed by mineral analysis of the lungs. (+info)
Respiratory abnormalities among male foundry workers in central Taiwan.
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)
Clearance of man made mineral fibres from the lungs of sheep.
OBJECTIVES: To compare the clearance rate, the related pathology, and the chemical and morphological changes of three man made mineral fibres (MMMFs) in the sheep model of pneumoconiosis. METHODS: Fibrous particles were extracted from lung parenchyma and analysed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). RESULTS: The concentration of MMMF11, MMMF21, refractory ceramic fibre (RCF-1), and crocidolite asbestos fibres decreased with time according to a slow and a fast kinetic component. There was a statistical difference in the four regression lines as a function of time and the type of fibres (p < 0.001). The diameter of MMMFs decreased during the course of the time, whereas the crocidolite fibres did not seem to show any change. There was a statistical difference in the four regression lines as a function of time (p = 0.037) and type of fibres (p < 0.001). Ferruginous bodies were counted in the 40 sheep for which the latency period was 2 years. No typical ferruginous bodies were found in the groups exposed to MMMFs. The geometric mean concentration of asbestos bodies in the group exposed to crocidolite was 2421 bodies/g lung tissue (95% CI 385 to 15260). CONCLUSIONS: The number of initially retained fibres decreased with time according to a slow and a fast kinetic component. MMMF11 and MMMF21 have similar clearance, faster than RCF-1 and crocidolite. The geometric mean diameter and length of MMMF decreased with time, but crocidolite did not. After 2 years in the sheep tracheal lobe, ferruginous bodies were not found in all three MMMF groups but were substantial in the crocidolite group. Clearance is thought to proceed through dissolution and macrophage translocation. (+info)
Characterization of dust exposure for the study of chronic occupational lung disease: a comparison of different exposure assessment strategies.
Various exposure assessment strategies were compared in the study of the relation between dust exposure and 11-year lung function change in 1,172 miners with 36,824 concurrently measured personal dust samples available from the 1969-1981 US National Study of Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis. A miner's average exposure was assessed by calculating average exposures based on dust samples taken from each individual and by using different job exposure matrices (JEMs) with different underlying exposure categorizations, based on occupational categories, job title, mine, and time, to obtain average exposure estimates. For each grouping procedure, intragroup and intergroup variances and the pooled standard error of the mean were calculated to assess relative efficiency. The results show that considerable variation in slopes of exposure-response relations was found using different exposure assessment strategies. Standard errors of the slopes of the exposure-response relations with exposure on an individual basis compared with JEMs. Exposure assessment on an individual basis was extremely sensitive to the number of exposure measurements per individual. The study demonstrates the advantages and disadvantages of different exposure assessment strategies and shows the need for explicit publication of exposure assessment strategies for epidemiologic studies. Careful assessment of the influence of misclassification error in the exposure assessment on exposure-response modeling is warranted. (+info)
Silicosis and coal workers' pneumoconiosis.
Exposure to coal mine dust and/or crystalline silica results in pneumoconiosis with initiation and progression of pulmonary fibrosis. This review presents characteristics of simple and complicated coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP) as well as pathologic indices of acute and chronic silicosis by summarizing results of in vitro, animal, and human investigations. These results support four basic mechanisms in the etiology of CWP and silicosis: a) direct cytotoxicity of coal dust or silica, resulting in lung cell damage, release of lipases and proteases, and eventual lung scarring; b) activation of oxidant production by pulmonary phagocytes, which overwhelms the antioxidant defenses and leads to lipid peroxidation, protein nitrosation, cell injury, and lung scarring; c) activation of mediator release from alveolar macrophages and epithelial cells, which leads to recruitment of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and macrophages, resulting in the production of proinflammatory cytokines and reactive species and in further lung injury and scarring; d) secretion of growth factors from alveolar macrophages and epithelial cells, stimulating fibroblast proliferation and eventual scarring. Results of in vitro and animal studies provide a basis for proposing these mechanisms for the initiation and progression of pneumoconiosis. Data obtained from exposed workers lend support to these mechanisms. (+info)