Medical screening and biomedical monitoring violate individual rights. Such conflicts of right with right are acted upon synergistically by uncertainty which, in some important respects, increases rather than decreases as a result of research. Issues of rightness and wrongness, ethical issues, arise because the human beings who are subjects of medical screening and biological monitoring often have little or no option whether to be subjected to them. We identify issues of rightness and wrongness of biomedical surveillance for various purposes of occupational health and safety. We distinguish between social validity and scientific validity. We observe that principles are well established for scientific validity, but not for social validity. We support guidelines as a way forward.
The measurement of radon flux from soil surface is the useful tool for the assessment of radon-prone areas and monitoring of radon releases from uranium mining and milling residues. The accumulation chambers with hollow headspace and chambers with activated charcoal are the most used devices for these purposes. Systematic errors of the measurements strongly depend on the geometry of the chamber and diffusion coefficient of the radon in soil. The calibration system for the attestation of devices for radon flux measurements was constructed. The calibration measurements of accumulation chambers and chambers with activated charcoal were conducted. The good agreement between the results of 2D modelling of radon flux and measurements results was observed. It was demonstrated that reliable measurements of radon flux can be obtained by chambers with activated charcoal (equivalent volume ~75 l) or by accumulation chambers with hollow headspace of ~7-10 l and volume/surface ratio (height) of >15 cm.
A retrospective cohort study was undertaken to investigate the cancer mortality of granite workers. The study comprised 1,026 workers hired between 1940 and 1971. The number of person-years was 20,165, and the number of deaths 235. During the total follow-up 46 tumors were observed and 44.9 were expected. An excess mortality from tumors was observed for the workers followed for 20 years or more, the greatest excess occurring during the follow-up period of 25-29 years (observed 11, expected 5.2). Of the 46 tumors, 22 were lung cancers (expected 17.1) and 15 were gastrointestinal cancers (expected 9.7), nine of which were cancers of the stomach (expected 6.0). Mortality from lung cancer was excessive for workers with at least 15 years since entry into granite work (latency) (21 observed and 9.5 expected), being highest during the follow-up period of 25-29 years (observed 8, expected 2.1). The results indicate that granite exposure per se may be an etiologic factor in the initiation or promotion of malignant neoplasms.
OBJECTIVES: To study the carcinogenicity of inorganic mercury in humans. METHODS: We studied the mortality from cancer among 6784 male and 265 female workers of four mercury mines and mills in Spain, Slovenia, Italy and the Ukraine. Workers were employed between the beginning of the century and 1990; the follow-up period lasted from the 1950s to the 1990s. We compared the mortality of the workers with national reference rates. RESULTS: Among men, there was no overall excess cancer mortality; an increase was observed in mortality from lung cancer (standardized mortality ratio [SMR] 1.19, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] 1.03-1.38) and liver cancer (SMR 1.64, CI 1.18-2.22). The increase in lung cancer risk was restricted to workers from Slovenia and the Ukraine: no relationship was found with duration of employment or estimated mercu ry exposure. The increase in liver cancer risk was present both among miners and millers and was stronger in workers from Italy and Slovenia: there was a trend with estimated cumulative exposure but not with duration of employment, and the excess was not present in a parallel analysis of cancer incidence among workers from Slovenia. No increase was observed for other types of cancer, including brain and kidney tumours. Among female workers (Ukraine only), three deaths occurred from ovarian cancer, likely representing an excess. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to inorganic mercury in mines and mills does not seem strongly associated with cancer risk, with the possible exception of liver cancer; the increase in lung cancer may be explained by co-exposure to crystalline silica and radon.
Relation between the risk of lung cancer and combined home and work indoor radon exposure was studied on the example of the population of Lermontov town (Stavropol Region, Russia). The town is situated in the former uranium mining area. Case (121 lung cancer cases) and control (196 individuals free of lung cancer diagnosis) groups of the study included both ex-miners and individuals that were not involved in the uranium industry. Home and work radon exposures were estimated using archive data as well as contemporary indoor measurements. The results of our study support the conclusion about the effect of radon exposure on the lung cancer morbidity.
Although stainless steel has been produced for more than a hundred years, exposure-related mortality data for production workers are limited.
To describe cause-specific mortality in Finnish ferrochromium and stainless steel workers.
We studied Finnish stainless steel production chain workers employed between 1967 and 2004, from chromite mining to cold rolling of stainless steel, divided into sub-cohorts by production units with specific exposure patterns. We obtained causes of death for the years 1971-2012 from Statistics Finland. We calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) as ratios of observed and expected numbers of deaths based on population mortality rates of the same region.
Among 8088 workers studied, overall mortality was significantly decreased (SMR 0.77; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.70-0.84), largely due to low mortality from diseases of the circulatory system (SMR 0.71; 95% CI 0.61-0.81). In chromite mine, stainless steel melting shop and metallurgical laboratory workers, the SMR for circulatory disease was below 0.4 (SMR 0.33; 95% CI 0.07-0.95, SMR 0.22; 95% CI 0.05-0.65 and SMR 0.16; 95% CI 0.00-0.90, respectively). Mortality from accidents (SMR 0.84; 95% CI 0.67-1.04) and suicides (SMR 0.72; 95% CI 0.56-0.91) was also lower than in the reference population.
Working in the Finnish ferrochromium and stainless steel industry appears not to be associated with increased mortality.
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Comment In: Arch Environ Occup Health. 2016 Jul 3;71(4):187-827230506
Personal air measurements of aerosols and gases among tunnel construction workers were performed as part of a 11-day follow-up study on the relationship between exposure to aerosols and gases and cardiovascular and respiratory effects.
Ninety tunnel construction workers employed at 11 available construction sites participated in the exposure study. The workers were divided into seven job groups according to tasks performed. Exposure measurements were carried out on 2 consecutive working days prior to the day of health examination. Summary statistics were computed using maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), and the procedure NLMIXED and LIFEREG in SAS was used to perform MLE for repeated measures data subject to left censoring and for calculation of within- and between-worker variance components.
The geometric mean (GM) air concentrations for the thoracic mass aerosol sub-fraction, a-quartz, oil mist, organic carbon (OC), and elemental carbon (EC) for all workers were 561, 63, 210, 146, and 35.2 µg m(-3), respectively. Statistical differences of air concentrations between job groups were observed for all contaminants, except for OC, EC, and ammonia (P > 0.05). The shaft drillers, injection workers, and shotcreting operators were exposed to the highest GM levels of thoracic dust (7061, 1087, and 865 µg m(-) (3), respectively). The shaft drillers and the support workers were exposed to the highest GM levels of a-quartz (GM = 844 and 118 µg m(-3), respectively). Overall, the exposure to nitrogen dioxide and ammonia was low (GM = 120 and 251 µg m(-) (3), respectively).
Findings from this study show significant differences between job groups with shaft drilling as the highest exposed job to air concentrations for all measured contaminants. Technical interventions in this job should be implemented to reduce exposure levels. Overall, diesel exhaust air concentrations seem to be lower than previously assessed (as EC).
We present clinical and laboratory results (including nuclear imaging) obtained over a period of two years in two nonsmoking miners who were exposed to high concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO2) after a mine explosion. Within 3 wk of the accident, both miners had evidence of severe airways obstruction, hypoxemia, markedly reduced exercise tolerance, ventilation-perfusion mismatch, and evidence of active inflammation as documented by positive gallium lung scan. Serial ventilation-perfusion scans over the first 12 months showed progressive improvement without returning to normal. After the initial recovery, there has been no significant change over the subsequent two years postinjury. Pulmonary function and exercise tests also displayed a similar pattern of initial improvement. We conclude that (1) acute exposure to high concentrations of SO2 results in severe airways obstruction, (2) pulmonary function abnormalities are partially reversible, and (3) most of the improvement occurs within 12 months after the initial injury.