Occupational epidemiology involves the application of epidemiologic methods to populations of workers. Studies may involve looking at workers exposed to a variety of chemical, biological or physical agents to determine if the exposures result in the risk of adverse health outcomes. Alternatively, epidemiologic studies may involve the evaluation of workers with a common adverse health outcome to determine if an agent or set of agents may explain their disease.
We analyzed the mesothelioma mortality in cohorts of workers exposed to crocidolite, amosite, and chrysotile to estimate asbestos fiber potency for mesothelioma, using the method of Hodgson and Darnton (2000). We relied on the original 17 cohort studies in their analysis, along with 3 updates of those studies and 3 new asbestos cohort studies published since 2000. We extended the analyses to examine the mesothelioma potency of tremolite in vermiculite from Libby, Montana, and for non-asbestiform elongate mineral particles (EMPs) in taconite iron ore, talc, and South Dakota gold mining. Mesothelioma potency (RMeso) was calculated as the percent of all expected deaths that were due to mesothelioma per fiber/cc-year of exposure. The RMeso was 0.0012 for chrysotile, 0.099 for amosite, and 0.451 for crocidolite: thus, the relative potency of chrysotile:amosite:crocidolite was 1:83:376, which was not appreciably different from the estimates by Hodgson and Darnton in 2000. The RMeso for taconite mining fibers was 0.069 which was slightly greater than that for amosite. The RMeso for Libby fibers was 0.028 which was greater than that for chrysotile and less than that for amosite. Talc and gold mining EMPs were non-potent for mesothelioma. Although there are a number of methods for estimating fiber potency of […]
Although titanium dioxide (TiO2) is generally regarded as a nontoxic mild pulmonary irritant, some laboratory studies have reported lung adenomas in rats exposed to high levels of TiO2. Limited data on health effects among humans exist. A retrospective cohort mortality studywas conducted among 4241 TiO2 workers who were employed for at least 6 months, on or after January 1, 1960, at four TiO2 plants in the United States. Exposure categories, defined by plant, job title, and calendar years in the job, were created to examine mortality patterns in those jobs where the potential for TiO2 exposure is greatest. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to compare the mortality pattern of the workers with the general background population. Relative risks were estimated and trend tests were conducted to examine risk of disease among different exposure level groups in internal analyses. Workers experienced a significantly low overall mortality (SMR = 0.8; 95% CI = 0.8-0.9). No significantly increased SMRs were found for any specific cause of death. Deaths from lung cancer were as expected, and SMRs for this cancer did not increase with increasing TiO2 levels. Workers in jobs with greatest TiO2 exposure had significantly fewer than expected total deaths (SMR = 0.7; 95% CI = 0.6-0.9). Internal analyses […]
We performed nerve conduction studies (NCSs) on 113 chemical workers, many of whom had occupational exposure to the organophosphorus insecticide chlorpyrifos (O,O-diethyl-O-[3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridyl]-phosphorothioate), to identify dose effects of subclinical neuropathy. In this masked longitudinal study, we estimated historic and interim chlorpyrifos exposures and measured excretion of 3,5,6 trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCP), a chlorpyrifos metabolite. TCP excretion among exposed workers suggested an estimated daily chlorpyrifos exposure averaging about 576-627 microg/day and indicated levels approximately 30% (range 0-250%) of the internal dose received by a typical subject exposed during a working day at the threshold limit value of 200 microg/m3. We modeled NCS results using linear mixed models with repeated measures. Although we found no consistent associations between interim chlorpyrifos exposure and NCS results, we identified several significant associations involving historic chlorpyrifos exposure. Most associations, however, reflected effects at low-exposure levels (< 20 mg/m3 x days) without further effects as exposure increased over a 10-fold range (20-220 mg/m3 x days). This suggested small differences among subjects with low or no chlorpyrifos exposure, rather than a dose-related deterioration among subjects with higher exposures. Two NCS results demonstrating apparent subclinical adverse dose effects showed significant but unexplained interaction with education level. The overall results provide little support […]