A cohort of some 11,000 men born 1891-1920 and employed for at least one month in the chrysotile mines and mills of Quebec, was established in 1966 and has been followed ever since. Of the 5351 men surviving into 1976, only 16 could not be traced; 2508 were still alive in 1989, and 2827 had died; by the end of 1992 a further 698 were known to have died, giving an overall mortality of almost 80%. This paper presents the results of analysis of mortality for the period 1976 to 1988 inclusive, obtained by the subject-years method, with Quebec mortality for reference. In many respects the standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) 20 years or more after first employment were similar to those for the period 1951-75--namely, all causes 1.07 (1951-75, 1.09); heart disease 1.02 (1.04); cerebrovascular disease 1.06 (1.07); external causes 1.17 (1.17). The SMR for lung cancer, however, rose from 1.25 to 1.39 and deaths from mesothelioma increased from eight (10 before review) to 25; deaths from respiratory tuberculosis fell from 57 to five. Among men whose exposure by age 55 was at least 300 million particles per cubic foot x years (mpcf.y), the SMR (all causes) was elevated in the two main mining regions, Asbestos and Thetford Mines, and for the small factory in Asbestos; so were the SMRs for lung cancer, ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and respiratory disease other than pneumoconiosis. Except for lung cancer, however, there was little convincing evidence of gradients over four classes of exposure, divided at 30, 100, and 300 mpcf.y. Over seven narrower categories of exposure up to 300 mpcf.y the SMR for lung cancer fluctuated around 1.27 with no indication of trend, but increased steeply above that level. Mortality form pneumoconiosis was strongly related to exposure, and the trend for mesothelioma was not dissimilar. Mortality generally was related systematically to cigarette smoking habit, recorded in life from 99% of survivors into 1976; smokers of 20 or more cigarettes a day had the highest SMRs not only for lung cancer but also for all causes, cancer of the stomach, pancreas, and larynx, and ischaemic heart disease. For lung cancer SMRs increased fivefold with smoking, but the increase with dust exposure was comparatively slight for non-smokers, lower again for ex-smokers, and negligible for smokers of at least 20 cigarettes a day; thus the asbestos-smoking interaction was less than multiplicative. Of the 33 deaths from mesothelioma in the cohort to date, 28 were in miners and millers and five were in employees of a small asbestos products factory where commercial amphiboles had also been used. Preliminary analysis also suggest that the risk of mesothelioma was higher in the mines and mills at Thetford Mines than in those at Asbestos. More detailed studies of these differences and of exposure-response relations for lung cancer are under way.
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The article contains results concerning spectral analysis of biologic materials (blood and hair) for heavy metals content. These results helped to reveal health risk factors for workers engaged into chromium ores extraction and for nearby residents.
Accumulation of artificial and natural radionuclides in the chains of food webs leading to non-predatory and piscivorous fish of the Yenisei River was investigated during one year before and three years after the shutdown of a nuclear power plant at the Mining-and-Chemical Combine (2009-2012). The activity of artificial radionuclides in the samples of biota ofthe Yenisei River (aquatic moss, gammarids, dace, grayling, pike) was estimated. The concentration of radionuclides with induced activity (51Cr, 54Mn, 58Co, 60Co, 65Zn, 141, 144Ce, 152, 154Eu, 239Np) decreased in the biomass of biota after the shutdown of the nuclear power plant; the concentration of 137Cs did not. Analysis of the accumulation factors (C(F)) allows us to expect the effective accumulation of 137Cs in the terminal level of the food web of the Yenisei River--pike (C(F) = 2.0-9.4), i.e. biomagnifications of radiocesium. Accumulation of artificial, radionuclides in non-predatory fish from gammarids was not effective (C(F)
The risk of arsenic exposure to deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) living in areas of naturally and anthropogenically elevated arsenic levels was determined using three separate calculations of arsenic daily intake: Estimated daily intake (EDI), bioaccessible EDI (BEDI), and actual daily intake (ADI). The present work is of particular interest, because the risk assessments were determined for animals naturally exposed to arsenic. Gastric fluid extraction was used to obtain bioaccessibility data for soil and plant samples collected from three study sites (background, mine forest, and tailings) in Yellowknife (NT, Canada). Calculations using the EDI indicated that deer mice living in tailings habitat (average soil arsenic concentration, 1,740 +/- 2,240 microg/g) should have been experiencing serious health effects as a result of their exposure to arsenic. Using BEDI and ADI in the risk assessment calculation, however, resulted in an order-of-magnitude decrease in calculated risk. In addition, results calculated using the BEDI and ADI were not significantly different, suggesting that using bioaccessibility provides a more realistic estimate of potential risk. The present results provide evidence that the use of EDI in traditional risk assessments may seriously overestimate the actual risk, which in some instances may result in expensive and unnecessary clean-up measures.
The paper examines age-related accident risks faced by Swedish male iron-ore miners. A retrospective longitudinal analysis of national registers was conducted over a ten-year period using three times periods of five years and five age categories. Age-related accident frequency, characteristics and severity were examined. High accident ratios were rare among older miners whatever the time period, but some accident patterns became substantially more frequent in some older age cohorts over the years. Injuries tended to be more severe in older age groups, all accidents aggregated as well as by accident pattern. It is concluded that inequality in risk exposure between age groups may explain the lower accident ratios found among older workers, but also that the aging of a working population may lead to the application of task-assignment principles that penalize older workers, at least with regard to certain specific accident risks.