BACKGROUND: Inhalation of bitumen fumes is potentially carcinogenic to humans. METHODS: We conducted a study of 29,820 male workers exposed to bitumen in road paving, asphalt mixing and roofing, 32,245 ground and building construction workers unexposed to bitumen, and 17,757 workers not classifiable as bitumen workers, from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, with mortality follow-up during 1953-2000. We calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) based on national mortality rates. Poisson regression analyses compared mortality of bitumen workers to that of building or ground construction workers. RESULTS: The overall mortality was below expectation in the total cohort (SMR 0.92, 95% CI 0.90-0.94) and in each group of workers. The SMR of lung cancer was higher among bitumen workers (1.17, 95% CI 1.04-1.30) than among workers in ground and building construction (SMR 1.01, 95% CI 0.89-1.15). In the internal comparison, the relative risk (RR) of lung cancer mortality among bitumen workers was 1.09 (95% CI 0.89-1.34). The results of cancer of the head and neck were similar to those of lung cancer, based on a smaller number of deaths. There was no suggestion of an association between employment in bitumen jobs and other cancers. CONCLUSIONS: European workers employed in road paving, asphalt mixing and other jobs entailing exposure to bitumen fume might have experienced a small increase in lung cancer mortality risk, compared to workers in ground and building construction. However, exposure assessment was limited and confounding from exposure to carcinogens in other industries, tobacco smoking, and other lifestyle factors cannot be ruled out.
The study evaluates the factor structure and predictive validity of the symptom questionnaire EUROQUEST (EQ) that had been developed with the goal of simplifying the evaluation of health effects associated with long-term solvent exposure. The EQ was added to the normal evaluation procedures for 118 male patients with suspected solvent-induced toxic encephalopathy (TE) referred to seven Swedish clinics of occupational medicine during an 18-month period. EQ was also completed by 239 males from a random sample of 400 Swedish males aged 25-64 years selected from the general population and a sample of 559 occupationally active male spray painters aged 25-64 years. Factor and item analyses of EQ responses were performed. Ordinary least square regression analysis was used to evaluate sensitivity and correlation to evaluate the specificity of EQ and the separate components. Questions concerning memory and concentration symptoms alone showed better sensitivity than the other five EQ dimensions singly or combined for the entire EQ and for a subset of questions approximating Q16, a widely used organic solvent symptom screening questionnaire. However, the diagnosis of TE required information in addition to exposure and responses to EQ and Q16-like questions. The results indicate that the subset of EQ questions concerning memory and concentration might replace the more cumbersome EQ and less sensitive Q16 in screening for TE, although none of the screening instruments alone replaces current clinical diagnostic procedures.
Work-related shoulder pain is a common problem. Ergonomic factors in the workplace are thought to be important but a number of other factors have also been associated with shoulder pain.
To identify risk factors for work-related shoulder pain in Alberta, focusing particularly on ergonomic risk factors.
A case referent design was used to compare individuals who made a Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) claim for work-related shoulder pain with individuals who made a claim for other types of injury. Data were collected using a postal questionnaire and analysed by logistic regression.
There were 1263 participants (562 cases, 701 referents). The participation rate was 25% among cases and 21% among referents (P
Number of sick leave days vary by county, but little is known about the extent to which this gradient may be explained by differences pertaining to occupational composition and occupational exposure.
A randomly drawn cohort from the general population in Norway, aged 18-69 years, was interviewed by telephone in the second half of 2009 ( n=12,255; response at baseline=60.9%) and followed up in national registries to the end of 2010. Eligible respondents were registered with an active employee relationship in 2009 and 2010 ( n=8275). Information on counties ( n=19) was based on the administrative register. The outcome of interest was the number of physician-certified sick-leave days divided by scheduled man-days during 2010 (i.e. sick-leave percentage (SLP)).
The average SLP during 2010 was 5.2%. The between-county variation in SLP ranged from 4.0% to 7.2%. Compared to the age- and gender-adjusted model, adjustment for occupation, economic sector and self-reported occupational exposure reduced the median difference in SLP between the county with the lowest SLP (reference county) and the SLP in the other counties by 1.08 percentage points (i.e. a 58% reduction). The impact of occupational composition and occupational exposure on the total between-county variance in SLP was a 16% reduction.
Occupational composition and self-reported occupational exposure help to explain a significant part of the difference in SLP between counties, and appear to be more important explanatory factors than demographic variables, self-reported health and smoking.
To determine associations between work-related exposures and the prognosis of self-reported neck/shoulder pain. This prospective cohort study was based on 803 working subjects who reported neck/shoulder pain at baseline. The proportion of subjects who 5-6 years later were symptom-free was calculated. Data concerning work-related biomechanical, psychosocial, and organizational exposures were collected at baseline. The Cox regression analyses were used to calculate the relative chances (RC) of being symptom-free at the end of the study for single exposures, and also for up to three simultaneous work-related exposures. Adjustments were made for sex and age. Only 36% of the subjects were symptom-free 5-6 years later. The relative chance for being symptom-free at the end of the study was 1.32 (95% CI = 0.99-1.74) for subjects who were exposed to sitting > or =75% of the working time and 1.53 (95% CI = 1.02-2.29) for subjects who were exposed to job strain, i.e., the combination of high demands and low decision latitude. The relative chance of being symptom-free at the end of the study was 0.61 (95% CI = 0.40-0.94) for subjects with at least two out of three simultaneous biomechanical exposures at work; manual handling, working with the hands above shoulder level, and working with vibrating tools. In a heterogeneous population with moderate nonspecific neck/shoulder pain, sedentary work enhanced the chance of being symptom-free 5-6 years later, whereas simultaneous exposures to at least two of manual handling, working with hands above shoulder level and working with vibrating tools were associated with a lower chance of being symptom-free at the end of the study. This could imply that subjects with neck/shoulder pain should avoid such simultaneous exposures.
Cancer Control Research Program, BC Cancer Agency, Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
The relationship between physical activity and cutaneous malignant melanoma has not been fully investigated; in particular, many previous studies have not controlled for sunlight exposure, which is an important environmental risk factor for melanoma. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between occupational physical activity and melanoma risk. The data were collected for a population-based case-control study that consisted of 595 melanoma patients diagnosed between 1979 and 1981. Five hundred and ninety-five controls matched on sex, age and area of residence were selected from provincial government health insurance rolls. Lifetime job histories, sun exposure and other host factors were obtained from personal interviews with each individual. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between melanoma risk and occupational activity levels, measured as total metabolic equivalent hours, with adjustment for occupational sun exposure, recreational sun exposure and host factors. Risk estimates were elevated above one for each occupational activity quintile compared with those with sedentary jobs. However, the pattern of risk ratios was irregular and statistical significance was reached only by the highest quintile (odds ratio: 1.59, 95% confidence interval: 1.02-2.47) and the second lowest quintile (odds ratio: 1.62, 95% confidence interval: 1.10-2.39). Our data showed an elevated risk for cutaneous malignant melanoma among those with higher levels of physical activity, although no clear dose-response relationship was observed. Further studies examining lifetime physical activity histories and sunlight exposure are required to explicate these findings.
Occupational contact dermatitis is frequent, and further understanding of the epidemiology will improve the basis of its prevention. Objectives. To identify occupations at risk for severe occupational contact dermatitis.
The last 1000 cases of severe occupational contact dermatitis seen at our department were identified.
The study population comprised 618 females and 382 males. The mean age at onset of irritant contact dermatitis was significantly lower than the mean age at onset of allergic contact dermatitis for both sexes, irrespective of the presence of atopic dermatitis. Females at high risk were cooks, butchers, beauticians, bakers, and hairdressers, ranging from 23.3 to 96.8 cases per 10 000 workers per year. Males at high risk were painters, cooks, mechanics, locksmiths, and bakers, ranging from 16.5 to 32.3 cases per 10000 workers per year.
Occupational contact dermatitis remains frequent, even if only severe cases are considered. It is a concern that no effective, systematic interventions and prevention schemes have been launched in Europe, despite documentation of a significant problem over many years, and knowledge of risk occupations and risk factors. This study suggests new approaches for general and specific prevention of occupational contact dermatitis.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate possible associations between hospitalization for multiple sclerosis (MS) and region, socioeconomic status and occupation. METHODS: A nationwide database was constructed by linking Swedish Census data to the Hospital Discharge Register (1987-2001). The hospital diagnoses of MS were based on the International Classification of Diseases. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with 95% confidence intervals were calculated. RESULTS: Significantly increased or decreased risks of hospitalization for MS were found for individuals living in some counties. The overall SIRs for hospitalizations for MS were close to unity between different socioeconomic groups. Male religious workers, male postal workers and female administrators who had the same occupational title in two consecutive censuses had substantially higher risks of hospitalization for MS than the reference group. However, no increased risks were found for most occupational groups. CONCLUSIONS: The present study suggests that region, socioeconomic status and occupation have a minor effect on the population's risk of hospitalization for MS.
Our aims were to investigate possible associations between hospitalisation for venous thromboembolism (VTE) and socioeconomic and occupational factors. A nationwide database was constructed by linking Swedish census data to the Hospital Discharge Register (1990-2007). Hospital diagnoses of VTE were based on the International Classification of Diseases. Standardised incidence ratios were calculated for different socioeconomic and occupational groups. A total of 43063 individuals aged >20 years were hospitalised for VTE. Individuals with >12 years of education were at lower risk for VTE. Blue-collar workers, farmers, and non-employed individuals had higher risks for VTE, and white collar workers and professionals lower risks. In males and/or females, risks for VTE were increased for assistant nurses; farmers; miners and quarry workers; mechanics, iron and metalware workers; wood workers; food manufacture workers; packers; loaders and warehouse workers; public safety and protection workers; cooks and stewards; home helpers; building caretakers; and cleaners. Decreased risks were observed for technical, chemical, physical, and biological workers; physicians; dentists; nurses; other health and medical workers; teachers, religious, juridical, and other social science-related workers; artistic workers; clerical workers; sale agents; and fishermen, whalers and sealers. High educational level and several occupations requiring high levels of education were protective against VTE, while the risks for VTE were increased for farmers, blue-collar workers and non-employed individuals. The mechanisms are unknown but it might involve persistent psychosocial stress related to low socioeconomic and occupational status.
This study examines the impact of work-related psychosocial and mechanical exposure on the development of neck/shoulder pain in the general working population.
A randomly drawn cohort from the general population in Norway aged 18-66 was followed up for 3 years (n = 12,550, response rate = 67 %). Eligible respondents were in paid work during the reference week in 2006 and 2009, or temporarily absent from such work (n = 6,745). Four work-related psychosocial factors and six mechanical exposures were measured. Outcomes of interest were moderate or severe neck/shoulder pain at follow-up adjusted for baseline neck/shoulder pain.
In total, 16.9 % (1,138 individuals) reported neck/shoulder pain during the last month at follow-up. Work related psychosocial predictors of neck/shoulder pain were high job demands (highest OR 1.41, 95 % CI 1.11-1.78) and low levels of supportive leadership (highest OR 1.66, 95 % CI 1.08-2.54). Mechanical factors were neck flexion (highest OR 1.77, 95 % CI 1.31-2.39) and lifting in awkward postures (highest OR 1.81, 95 % CI 1.21-2.71). The estimated population risk attributable to these factors was about 23 %. The relative risk for neck/shoulder pain associated with psychosocial exposure was slightly influenced by adjustment for physical risk factors, and vice versa. There was no substantial confounding related to age, gender, education, occupation or psychological distress.
Highly demanding jobs, neck flexion and awkward lifting appear as the most important predictors of neck/shoulder pain.