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.

A cohort mortality study among titanium dioxide manufacturing workers in the United States

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 […]

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