Few studies have considered garlic odour as a socially important outcome of occupational tellurium (Te) exposure or concurrent exposures, and most known guidelines focus on other signs and symptoms (e.g. weight loss and somnolence). This study considers workers exposed to tellurium and selenium (Se) at an Ontario, Canada silver refinery.
To establish the relation of urinary tellurium concentrations to reporting garlic odour, while considering other work-related factors such as concurrent urinary selenium concentrations.
Historical surveillance records of urinary analyses for tellurium and selenium concentrations (µmol Te or Se/mol creatinine in urine) and symptom self-reports were used. Records were available from December 1986 to June 2002. Logistic regression models were fitted using age at sampling, tellurium and selenium urine concentration and duration of employment. Individual main effects were age adjusted and the final model was fitted for tellurium and selenium urine concentration and duration of employment.
Urinary tellurium concentration was significantly associated with garlic odour reporting (odds ratio = 1.74, 95% confidence interval 1.01-2.97, P 1 µmol/mol creatinine.