Selenium pollution is a worldwide phenomenon and is associated with a broad spectrum of human activities, ranging from the most basic agricultural practices to the most high-tech industrial processes. Consequently, selenium contamination of aquatic habitats can take place in urban, suburban, and rural settings alike--from mountains to plains, from deserts to rainforests, and from the Arctic to the tropics. Human activities that increase waterborne concentrations of selenium are on the rise and the threat of widespread impacts to aquatic life is greater than ever before. Important sources of selenium contamination in aquatic habitats are often overlooked by environmental biologists and ecological risk assessors due to preoccupation with other, higher priority pollutants, yet selenium may pose the most serious long-term risk to aquatic habitats and fishery resources. Failure to include selenium in the list of constituents measured in contaminant screening/monitoring programs is a major mistake, both from the hazard assessment aspect and from the pollution control aspect. Once selenium contamination begins, a cascade of bioaccumulation events is set into motion which makes meaningful intervention nearly impossible. However, this cascade of events need not happen if adequate foresight and planning are exercised. Early evaluation and action are key. Prudent risk management based on environmentally sound hazard assessment and water quality goals can prevent biological impacts.
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.
Cites: Circulation. 2004 Jan 6;109(1):71-714676145
Cites: BMJ. 2014;348:f741224452269
Cites: Int J Epidemiol. 2003 Oct;32(5):830-714559760
Cites: BMJ Open. 2013 Nov 19;3(11):e00381924253032
Cites: Occup Med (Lond). 2002 Jun;52(4):203-1212091586
Cites: Br J Ind Med. 1990 Jan;47(1):14-92310703
Cites: Br J Ind Med. 1980 May;37(2):121-77426462
Cites: Br J Ind Med. 1990 Aug;47(8):537-432393634
Cites: Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2000 Apr;73(3):171-8010787132
Cites: Occup Environ Med. 1996 Nov;53(11):741-79038797
Cites: Cancer Causes Control. 1993 Mar;4(2):75-818386949
Cites: N Engl J Med. 2007 Feb 1;356(5):447-5817267905
Comment In: Arch Environ Occup Health. 2016 Jul 3;71(4):187-827230506
The authors studied psychophysiologic state of operators in coal industry and metallurgy, who were considered healthy and suitable for the work. Only 60% of the examined metallurgy operators and 21% of those engaged into coal industry appeared to meet the occupational medical requirements. By the end of the working shift 50% of the operators showed decrease of attention and 28-36%--depression of visual and hearing memory. Occupational overload induced compromised psychophysiologic parameters in 70% of the examinees. Heating combined with other hazards resulted in marked asymmetry of heating sensation, changed body heating, lower hearing sensation, worse attention, memory, decision making, emotional state.
The paper comparatively assesses the level and qualitative spectrum of chromosomal aberrations (CA) in 192 workers engaged in 3 industries (cake and by-product, aluminum, and mining concentration processes). The maximum and minimum rates (6.43(+)-0.32% and 3.81(+)-0.46%) of CA have been observed in those engaged in cake and by-product and mining concentration processes, respectively. The combined influence of chemical and radiation factors are a cause of the higher rate of CA. Gender- and age-specific features do not effect on the level of structural CA. Smoking is a factor of their slight modification as there are no significant differences in the frequencies of aberrations between smokers and non-smokers in any professional group. There is an indirect relationship between the frequency of CA and the length of service, which may be different under the conditions of various industries.
The authors studied influence of vibration, noise, physical overexertion and microclimate on carbohydrates metabolism and insulin resistance in metal mining industry workers. Findings are that vibration disease appeared to have maximal effect on insulin resistance test results and insulin level. The authors suggested biomarkers for early diagnosis of insulin resistance disorders in metal mining industry workers.
Mortality of uranium miners from both lung cancer and other respiratory diseases is strongly dependent on exposure to radon daughters, cigarette smoking and height. Lung cancer among 15 different mining groups (uranium, iron, lead, zinc) was analyzed to determine what factors influence incidence and the induction-latent period. At low exposure or exposure rates, alpha radiation is more efficient in inducing lung cancer, producing an upward convex exposure-response curve. The induction-latent period is shortened by increased age at start of mining, by cigarette smoking and by high exposure rates. For a follow-up period of 20 to 25 years, the incidence increases with age at start of mining, with magnitude of exposure and with amount of cigarette smoking. Instead of extrapolating downward from high exposures to estimate risk at low levels, it is suggested that it might be more appropriate to use cancer rates associated with background radiation as the lowest point on the exposure-response curve. Although health risks are much greater in uranium mines than mills, there is some health risk in the mills from long-lived radioactive materials.