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1.  The Relationship between Multiple Myeloma and Occupational Exposure to Six Chlorinated Solvents 
Few studies have examined whether exposure to chlorinated solvents is associated with increased risk of multiple myeloma (MM). Using occupational exposure information, we evaluated associations between the risk of MM and exposure to six chlorinated solvents: 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), trichloroethylene (TCE), methylene chloride (DCM), perchloroethylene (PCE), carbon tetrachloride, and chloroform.
MM cases were identified through cancer registries and controls were identified in the general population. In-person interviews obtained lifetime occupational histories and additional information on jobs with likely solvent exposure. We reviewed each job and assigned exposure metrics of probability, frequency, intensity, and confidence using job-exposure matrices modified by job-specific questionnaire information. We used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between MM and having ever been exposed to each, and any, chlorinated solvent and also analyzed whether associations varied by duration and cumulative exposure. We also considered all occupations that were given the lowest confidence scores as unexposed and repeated all analyses.
Risk of MM was significantly elevated for subjects ever exposed to TCA (OR (95% CI): 1.8 (1.1–2.9)). Ever-exposure to TCE or DCM also entailed elevated, but not statistically significant, risks of MM; these became statistically significant when occupations that had low confidence scores were considered unexposed (TCE: 1.7 (1.0–2.7); DCM: 2.0 (1.2–3.2)). Increasing duration and cumulative exposure to TCE were associated with significantly increasing risk of MM when jobs given low confidence were considered unexposed. Increasing cumulative exposure to PCE was also associated with increasing MM risk. We observed non-significantly increased MM risks with exposure to chloroform; however, few subjects were exposed.
Evidence from this relatively large case-control study suggests that exposures to certain chlorinated solvents may be associated with increased incidence of MM; however, the study is limited by relatively low participation (52%) among controls.
PMCID: PMC3094509  PMID: 20833760
multiple myeloma; chlorinated solvents; 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA); trichloroethylene (TCE); methylene chloride (DCM); perchloroethylene (PCE); carbon tetrachloride; chloroform
2.  Occupational exposure to chlorinated solvents and risks of glioma and meningioma in adults 
Occupational and environmental medicine  2012;69(11):10.1136/oemed-2012-100742.
Chlorinated solvents are classified as probable or possible carcinogens. It is unknown whether exposure to these agents increases the risk of malignant or benign brain tumors. Our objective was to evaluate associations of brain tumor risk with occupational exposure to six chlorinated solvents [i.e., dichloromethane, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, and perchloroethylene].
489 glioma cases, 197 meningioma cases, and 799 controls were enrolled in a hospital-based case-control study conducted at three U.S. hospitals in Arizona, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Information about occupational history was obtained through a detailed in-person interview that included job-specific modules of questions such that the interview was tailored to each individual’s particular work history. An industrial hygienist assessed potential solvent exposure based on this information and an exhaustive review of the relevant industrial hygiene literature. Unconditional logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for each solvent for ever/never, duration, cumulative, average weekly, and highest exposure.
Overall, we found no consistent evidence of an increased risk of glioma or meningioma related to occupational exposure to the six chlorinated solvents evaluated. There was some suggestion of an association between carbon tetrachloride and glioma in analyses restricted to exposed subjects, with average weekly exposure above the median associated with increased risk compared to below-median exposure (OR=7.1, 95%CI: 1.1, 45.2).
We found no consistent evidence for increased brain tumor risk related to chlorinated solvents.
PMCID: PMC3850418  PMID: 22864249
epidemiology; cancer; solvents
3.  Maternal residential proximity to chlorinated solvent emissions and birth defects in offspring: a case–control study 
Environmental Health  2014;13(1):96.
Some studies have noted an association between maternal occupational exposures to chlorinated solvents and birth defects in offspring, but data are lacking on the potential impact of industrial air emissions of these solvents on birth defects.
With data from the Texas Birth Defects Registry for births occurring in 1996–2008, we examined the relation between maternal residential proximity to industrial air releases of chlorinated solvents and birth defects in offspring of 60,613 case-mothers and 244,927 control-mothers. Maternal residential exposures to solvent emissions were estimated with metrics that took into account residential distances to industrial sources and annual amounts of chemicals released. Logistic regression was used to generate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the associations between residential proximity to emissions of 14 chlorinated solvents and selected birth defects, including neural tube, oral cleft, limb deficiency, and congenital heart defects. All risk estimates were adjusted for year of delivery and maternal age, education, race/ethnicity, and public health region of residence.
Relative to exposure risk values of 0, neural tube defects were associated with maternal residential exposures (exposure risk values >0) to several types of chlorinated solvents, most notably carbon tetrachloride (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09, 1.86); chloroform (aOR 1.40, 95% CI 1.04, 1.87); ethyl chloride (aOR 1.39, 95% CI 1.08, 1.79); 1,1,2-trichloroethane (aOR 1.56, 95% CI 1.11, 2.18); and 1,2,3-trichloropropane (aOR 1.49, 95% CI 1.08, 2.06). Significant associations were also noted between a few chlorinated solvents and oral cleft, limb deficiency, and congenital heart defects. We observed stronger associations between some emissions and neural tube, oral cleft, and heart defects in offspring of mothers 35 years or older, such as spina bifida with carbon tetrachloride (aOR 2.49, 95% CI 1.09, 5.72), cleft palate with 1,2-dichloroethane (aOR 1.93, 95% 1.05, 3.54), cleft lip with or without cleft palate with ethyl chloride (aOR 1.81, 95% CI 1.06, 3.07), and obstructive heart defects with trichloroethylene (aOR 1.43, 95% CI 1.08, 1.88).
These findings suggest that maternal residential proximity to industrial emissions of chlorinated solvents might be associated with selected birth defects in offspring, especially among older mothers.
PMCID: PMC4247650  PMID: 25406847
Air pollution; Chlorinated solvents; Congenital heart defects; Limb deficiency defects; Neural tube defects; Oral cleft defects
4.  A Case–Control Study of Occupational Exposure to Trichloroethylene and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2010;119(2):232-238.
Previous epidemiologic findings suggest an association between exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), a chlorinated solvent primarily used for vapor degreasing of metal parts, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
We investigated the association between occupational TCE exposure and NHL within a population-based case–control study using detailed exposure assessment methods.
Cases (n = 1,189; 76% participation rate) and controls (n = 982; 52% participation rate) provided information on their occupational histories and, for selected occupations, on possible workplace exposure to TCE using job-specific interview modules. An industrial hygienist assessed potential TCE exposure based on this information and a review of the TCE industrial hygiene literature. We computed odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) relating NHL and different metrics of estimated TCE exposure, categorized using tertiles among exposed controls, with unexposed subjects as the reference group.
We observed associations with NHL for the highest tertiles of estimated average weekly exposure (23 exposed cases; OR = 2.5; 95% CI, 1.1–6.1) and cumulative exposure (24 exposed cases; OR = 2.3; 95% CI, 1.0–5.0) to TCE. Tests for trend with these metrics surpassed or approached statistical significance (p-value for trend = 0.02 and 0.08, respectively); however, we did not observe dose–response relationships across the exposure levels. Overall, neither duration nor intensity of exposure was associated with NHL, although we observed an association with the lowest tertile of exposure duration (OR = 2.1; 95% CI, 1.0–4.7).
Our findings offer additional support for an association between high levels of exposure to TCE and increased risk of NHL. However, we cannot rule out the possibility of confounding from other chlorinated solvents used for vapor degreasing and note that our exposure assessment methods have not been validated.
PMCID: PMC3040611  PMID: 21370516
cancer; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; occupational; solvents; trichloroethylene
5.  Maternal occupational exposure to organic solvents during early pregnancy and risks of neural tube defects and orofacial clefts 
Though toxicological experiments demonstrate the teratogenicity of organic solvents in animal models, epidemiologic studies have reported inconsistent results. Using data from the population-based National Birth Defects Prevention Study, we examined the relation between maternal occupational exposure to aromatic solvents, chlorinated solvents and Stoddard solvent during early pregnancy and neural tube defects (NTDs) and orofacial clefts (OFCs).
Cases of NTDs (anencephaly, spina bifida and encephalocele) and OFCs (cleft lip ± cleft palate and cleft palate alone) delivered between 1997 and 2002 were identified by birth defect surveillance registries in 8 states; non-malformed control infants were selected using birth certificates or hospital records. Maternal solvent exposure was estimated by industrial hygienist review of self-reported occupational histories in combination with a literature-derived exposure database. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between solvent class and each birth defect group and component phenotype were estimated using multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for maternal age, race/ethnicity, education, pre-pregnancy body mass index, folic acid supplement use and smoking.
The prevalence of exposure to any solvent among mothers of NTD cases (n=511), OFC cases (n=1163) and controls (n=2977) was 13.1%, 9.6% and 8.2%, respectively. Exposure to chlorinated solvents was associated with increased odds of NTDs (OR=1.96; CI=1.34, 2.87), especially spina bifida (OR=2.26; CI=1.44, 3.53). No solvent class was strongly associated with OFCs in these data.
Our findings suggest that maternal occupational exposure to chlorinated solvents during early pregnancy is positively associated with the prevalence of NTDs in offspring.
PMCID: PMC3719396  PMID: 22447643
congenital abnormalities; occupational exposure; solvents
6.  An Exploratory Case-Only Analysis of Gene-Hazardous Air Pollutant Interactions and the Risk of Childhood Medulloblastoma 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2012;59(4):605-610.
There is evidence that exposure to chlorinated solvents may be associated with childhood medulloblastoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumor (M/PNET) risk. Animal models suggest genes related to detoxification and DNA repair are important in the carcinogenicity of these pollutants, however, there have been no human studies assessing the modifying effects of these genotypes on the association between chlorinated solvents and childhood M/PNET risk.
We conducted a case-only study to evaluate census tract-level exposure to chlorinated solvents and the risk of childhood M/PNET in the context of detoxification and DNA repair genotypes. Cases (n = 98) were obtained from Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Key genotypes (n = 22) were selected from the Illumina Human 1M Quad SNP Chip. Exposure to chlorinated solvents (methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride) was estimated from the U.S. EPA’s 1999 Assessment System for Population Exposure Nationwide (ASPEN). Logistic regression was used to estimate the case-only odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
There were 11 significant gene-environment interactions associated with childhood M/PNET risk. However, after correcting for multiple comparisons, only the interaction between high trichloroethylene levels and OGG1 rs293795 significantly increased the risk of childhood M/PNET risk (OR = 9.24, 95% CI: 2.24, 38.24, Q = 0.04).
This study provides an initial assessment of the interaction between ambient levels of chlorinated solvents and potentially relevant genotypes on childhood M/PNET risk. Our results are exploratory and must be validated in animal models, as well as additional human studies.
PMCID: PMC3371277  PMID: 22389292
Hazardous air pollutants; chlorinated solvents; DNA repair genes; detoxification genes; childhood medulloblastoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumor
7.  Retrospective cohort mortality study of workers at an aircraft maintenance facility. II. Exposures and their assessment. 
Methods are presented that were used for assessing exposures in a cohort mortality study of 15,000 employees who held 150,000 jobs at an Air Force base from 1939 to 1982. Standardisation of the word order and spelling of the job titles identified 43,000 unique job title organisation combinations. Walkthrough surveys were conducted, long term employees were interviewed, and available industrial hygiene data were collected to evaluate historic exposures. Because of difficulties linking air monitoring data and use of specific chemicals to the departments identified in the work histories, position descriptions were used to identify the tasks in each job. From knowledge of the tasks and the chemicals used in those tasks the presence or absence of 23 chemicals or groups of chemicals were designated for each job organisation combination. Also, estimates of levels of exposure were made for trichloroethylene and for mixed solvents, a category comprising several solvents including trichloroethylene, Stoddard solvent, carbon tetrachloride, JP4 gasoline, freon, alcohols, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, acetone, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone, methylene chloride, o-dichlorobenzene, perchloroethylene, chloroform, styrene, and xylene.
PMCID: PMC1035414  PMID: 1878309
8.  Solvent exposure and malignant lymphoma: a population-based case-control study in Germany 
To analyze the relationship between exposure to chlorinated and aromatic organic solvents and malignant lymphoma in a multi-centre, population-based case-control study.
Male and female patients with malignant lymphoma (n = 710) between 18 and 80 years of age were prospectively recruited in six study regions in Germany (Ludwigshafen/Upper Palatinate, Heidelberg/Rhine-Neckar-County, Würzburg/Lower Frankonia, Hamburg, Bielefeld/Gütersloh, and Munich). For each newly recruited lymphoma case, a gender, region and age-matched (± 1 year of birth) population control was drawn from the population registers. In a structured personal interview, we elicited a complete occupational history, including every occupational period that lasted at least one year. On the basis of job task-specific supplementary questionnaires, a trained occupational physician assessed the exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbons (trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, dichloromethane, carbon tetrachloride) and aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, xylene, styrene). Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using conditional logistic regression analysis, adjusted for smoking (in pack years) and alcohol consumption. To increase the statistical power, patients with specific lymphoma subentities were additionally compared with the entire control group using unconditional logistic regression analysis.
We observed a statistically significant association between high exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbons and malignant lymphoma (Odds ratio = 2.1; 95% confidence interval 1.1–4.3). In the analysis of lymphoma subentities, a pronounced risk elevation was found for follicular lymphoma and marginal zone lymphoma. When specific substances were considered, the association between trichloroethylene and malignant lymphoma was of borderline statistical significance. Aromatic hydrocarbons were not significantly associated with the lymphoma diagnosis.
In accordance with the literature, this data point to a potential etiologic role of chlorinated hydrocarbons (particularly trichloroethylene) and malignant lymphoma. Chlorinated hydrocarbons might affect specific lymphoma subentities differentially. Our study does not support a strong association between aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, xylene, or styrene) and the diagnosis of a malignant lymphoma.
PMCID: PMC1851965  PMID: 17407545
9.  Insights from Epidemiology into Dichloromethane and Cancer Risk 
Dichloromethane (methylene chloride) is a widely used chlorinated solvent. We review the available epidemiology studies (five cohort studies, 13 case-control studies, including seven of hematopoietic cancers), focusing on specific cancer sites. There was little indication of an increased risk of lung cancer in the cohort studies (standardized mortality ratios ranging from 0.46 to 1.21). These cohorts are relatively small, and variable effects (e.g., point estimates ranging from 0.5 to 2.0) were seen for the rarer forms of cancers such as brain cancer and specific hematopoietic cancers. Three large population-based case-control studies of incident non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Europe and the United States observed odds ratios between 1.5 and 2.2 with dichloromethane exposure (ever exposed or highest category of exposure), with higher risk seen in specific subsets of disease. More limited indications of associations with brain cancer, breast cancer, and liver and biliary cancer were also seen in this collection of studies. Existing cohort studies, given their size and uneven exposure information, are unlikely to resolve questions of cancer risks and dichloromethane exposure. More promising approaches are population-based case-control studies of incident disease, and the combination of data from such studies, with robust exposure assessments that include detailed occupational information and exposure assignment based on industry-wide surveys or direct exposure measurements.
PMCID: PMC3166749  PMID: 21909313
dichloromethane; methylene chloride; solvents; cancer; epidemiology
10.  Long-Term Exposure to Silica Dust and Risk of Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Chinese Workers: A Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(4):e1001206.
A retro-prospective cohort study by Weihong Chen and colleagues provides new estimates for the risk of total and cause-specific mortality due to long-term silica dust exposure among Chinese workers.
Human exposure to silica dust is very common in both working and living environments. However, the potential long-term health effects have not been well established across different exposure situations.
Methods and Findings
We studied 74,040 workers who worked at 29 metal mines and pottery factories in China for 1 y or more between January 1, 1960, and December 31, 1974, with follow-up until December 31, 2003 (median follow-up of 33 y). We estimated the cumulative silica dust exposure (CDE) for each worker by linking work history to a job–exposure matrix. We calculated standardized mortality ratios for underlying causes of death based on Chinese national mortality rates. Hazard ratios (HRs) for selected causes of death associated with CDE were estimated using the Cox proportional hazards model. The population attributable risks were estimated based on the prevalence of workers with silica dust exposure and HRs. The number of deaths attributable to silica dust exposure among Chinese workers was then calculated using the population attributable risk and the national mortality rate. We observed 19,516 deaths during 2,306,428 person-years of follow-up. Mortality from all causes was higher among workers exposed to silica dust than among non-exposed workers (993 versus 551 per 100,000 person-years). We observed significant positive exposure–response relationships between CDE (measured in milligrams/cubic meter–years, i.e., the sum of silica dust concentrations multiplied by the years of silica exposure) and mortality from all causes (HR 1.026, 95% confidence interval 1.023–1.029), respiratory diseases (1.069, 1.064–1.074), respiratory tuberculosis (1.065, 1.059–1.071), and cardiovascular disease (1.031, 1.025–1.036). Significantly elevated standardized mortality ratios were observed for all causes (1.06, 95% confidence interval 1.01–1.11), ischemic heart disease (1.65, 1.35–1.99), and pneumoconiosis (11.01, 7.67–14.95) among workers exposed to respirable silica concentrations equal to or lower than 0.1 mg/m3. After adjustment for potential confounders, including smoking, silica dust exposure accounted for 15.2% of all deaths in this study. We estimated that 4.2% of deaths (231,104 cases) among Chinese workers were attributable to silica dust exposure. The limitations of this study included a lack of data on dietary patterns and leisure time physical activity, possible underestimation of silica dust exposure for individuals who worked at the mines/factories before 1950, and a small number of deaths (4.3%) where the cause of death was based on oral reports from relatives.
Long-term silica dust exposure was associated with substantially increased mortality among Chinese workers. The increased risk was observed not only for deaths due to respiratory diseases and lung cancer, but also for deaths due to cardiovascular disease.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Walk along most sandy beaches and you will be walking on millions of grains of crystalline silica, one of the commonest minerals on earth and a major ingredient in glass and in ceramic glazes. Silica is also used in the manufacture of building materials, in foundry castings, and for sandblasting, and respirable (breathable) crystalline silica particles are produced during quarrying and mining. Unfortunately, silica dust is not innocuous. Several serious diseases are associated with exposure to this dust, including silicosis (a chronic lung disease characterized by scarring and destruction of lung tissue), lung cancer, and pulmonary tuberculosis (a serious lung infection). Moreover, exposure to silica dust increases the risk of death (mortality). Worryingly, recent reports indicate that in the US and Europe, about 1.7 and 3.0 million people, respectively, are occupationally exposed to silica dust, figures that are dwarfed by the more than 23 million workers who are exposed in China. Occupational silica exposure, therefore, represents an important global public health concern.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although the lung-related adverse health effects of exposure to silica dust have been extensively studied, silica-related health effects may not be limited to these diseases. For example, could silica dust particles increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (diseases that affect the heart and circulation)? Other environmental particulates, such as the products of internal combustion engines, are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but no one knows if the same is true for silica dust particles. Moreover, although it is clear that high levels of exposure to silica dust are dangerous, little is known about the adverse health effects of lower exposure levels. In this cohort study, the researchers examined the effect of long-term exposure to silica dust on the risk of all cause and cause-specific mortality in a large group (cohort) of Chinese workers.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers estimated the cumulative silica dust exposure for 74,040 workers at 29 metal mines and pottery factories from 1960 to 2003 from individual work histories and more than four million measurements of workplace dust concentrations, and collected health and mortality data for all the workers. Death from all causes was higher among workers exposed to silica dust than among non-exposed workers (993 versus 551 deaths per 100,000 person-years), and there was a positive exposure–response relationship between silica dust exposure and death from all causes, respiratory diseases, respiratory tuberculosis, and cardiovascular disease. For example, the hazard ratio for all cause death was 1.026 for every increase in cumulative silica dust exposure of 1 mg/m3-year; a hazard ratio is the incidence of an event in an exposed group divided by its incidence in an unexposed group. Notably, there was significantly increased mortality from all causes, ischemic heart disease, and silicosis among workers exposed to respirable silica concentrations at or below 0.1 mg/m3, the workplace exposure limit for silica dust set by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. For example, the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) for silicosis among people exposed to low levels of silica dust was 11.01; an SMR is the ratio of observed deaths in a cohort to expected deaths calculated from recorded deaths in the general population. Finally, the researchers used their data to estimate that, in 2008, 4.2% of deaths among industrial workers in China (231,104 deaths) were attributable to silica dust exposure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that long-term silica dust exposure is associated with substantially increased mortality among Chinese workers. They confirm that there is an exposure–response relationship between silica dust exposure and a heightened risk of death from respiratory diseases and lung cancer. That is, the risk of death from these diseases increases as exposure to silica dust increases. In addition, they show a significant relationship between silica dust exposure and death from cardiovascular diseases. Importantly, these findings suggest that even levels of silica dust that are considered safe increase the risk of death. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by the accuracy of the silica dust exposure estimates and/or by confounding (other factors shared by the people exposed to silica such as diet may have affected their risk of death). Nevertheless, these findings highlight the need to tighten regulations on workplace dust control in China and elsewhere.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The American Lung Association provides information on silicosis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on silica in the workplace, including links to relevant US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety publications, and information on silicosis and other pneumoconioses
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration also has detailed information on occupational exposure to crystalline silica
What does silicosis mean to you is a video provided by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration that includes personal experiences of silicosis; Dont let silica dust you is a video produced by the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics that identifies ways to reduce silica dust exposure in the workplace
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on silicosis (in English and Spanish)
The International Labour Organization provides information on health surveillance for those exposed to respirable crystalline silica
The World Health Organization has published a report about the health effects of crystalline silica and quartz
PMCID: PMC3328438  PMID: 22529751
11.  Systemic sclerosis and occupational risk factors: a case–control study 
Aims: A case–control study was carried out between 1998 and 2000 to investigate the relation between systemic sclerosis and occupational exposure.
Methods: Eighty cases of systemic sclerosis admitted consecutively to the Department of Internal Medicine at the University Hospital of Tours from 1998 to 2000 were included. For each case, two age, gender, and smoking habits matched controls hospitalised during the same period in the same department were selected. A committee of experts was set up retrospectively to assess occupational exposure. Exposure to silica dust and organic solvents (such as trichlorethylene and other chlorinated solvents, and benzene and other aromatic solvents) was investigated using semiquantitative estimates of exposure. An exposure score was calculated for each subject based on probability, intensity, daily frequency, and duration of exposure for each period of employment. The final cumulative exposure score was obtained, taking into account all periods of employment.
Results: Significant associations with SS were observed for crystalline silica, trichlorethylene, chlorinated solvents, toluene, aromatic solvents, ketones, white spirit, epoxy resins, and welding fumes. Risk of SS was significantly associated with a high final cumulative exposure score of occupational exposure to crystalline silica, trichlorethylene, chlorinated solvents, welding fumes, and any types of solvents.
Conclusion: Results confirm the influence of occupational risk factors in the occurrence of SS in both men and women. The link is not only with silica but also with other compounds such as solvents.
PMCID: PMC1740346  PMID: 12151611
12.  Whole-Body Lifetime Occupational Lead Exposure and Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2006;114(12):1872-1876.
Several epidemiologic studies have suggested an association between Parkinson’s disease (PD) and exposure to heavy metals using subjective exposure measurements.
We investigated the association between objective chronic occupational lead exposure and the risk of PD.
We enrolled 121 PD patients and 414 age-, sex-, and race-, frequency-matched controls in a case–control study. As an indicator of chronic Pb exposure, we measured concentrations of tibial and calcaneal bone Pb stores using 109Cadmium excited K-series X-ray fluorescence. As an indicator of recent exposure, we measured blood Pb concentration. We collected occupational data on participants from 18 years of age until the age at enrollment, and an industrial hygienist determined the duration and intensity of environmental Pb exposure. We employed physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling to combine these data, and we estimated whole-body lifetime Pb exposures for each individual. Logistic regression analysis produced estimates of PD risk by quartile of lifetime Pb exposure.
Risk of PD was elevated by > 2-fold [odds ratio = 2.27 (95% confidence interval, 1.13–4.55); p = 0.021] for individuals in the highest quartile for lifetime lead exposure relative to the lowest quartile, adjusting for age, sex, race, smoking history, and coffee and alcohol consumption. The associated risk of PD for the second and third quartiles were elevated but not statistically significant at the α = 0.05 level.
These results provide an objective measure of chronic Pb exposure and confirm our earlier findings that occupational exposure to Pb is a risk factor for PD.
PMCID: PMC1764163  PMID: 17185278
case control; chronic toxicity; K-X-ray fluorescence; lead exposure; neurodegeneration; occupational exposure; Parkinson’s disease
13.  Combining a Job-Exposure Matrix with Exposure Measurements to Assess Occupational Exposure to Benzene in a Population Cohort in Shanghai, China 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2011;56(1):80-91.
Generic job-exposure matrices (JEMs) are often used in population-based epidemiologic studies to assess occupational risk factors when only the job and industry information of each subject is available. JEM ratings are often based on professional judgment, are usually ordinal or semi-quantitative, and often do not account for changes in exposure over time. We present an empirical Bayesian framework that combines ordinal subjective JEM ratings with benzene measurements. Our aim was to better discriminate between job, industry, and time differences in exposure levels compared to using a JEM alone.
We combined 63 221 short-term area air measurements of benzene exposure (1954–2000) collected during routine health and safety inspections in Shanghai, China, with independently developed JEM intensity ratings for each job and industry using a mixed-effects model. The fixed-effects terms included the JEM intensity ratings for job and industry (both ordinal, 0–3) and a time trend that we incorporated as a b-spline. The random-effects terms included job (n = 33) and industry nested within job (n = 399). We predicted the benzene concentration in two ways: (i) a calibrated JEM estimate was calculated using the fixed-effects model parameters for calendar year and JEM intensity ratings; (ii) a job-/industry-specific estimate was calculated using the fixed-effects model parameters and the best linear unbiased predictors from the random effects for job and industry using an empirical Bayes estimation procedure. Finally, we applied the predicted benzene exposures to a prospective population-based cohort of women in Shanghai, China (n = 74 942).
Exposure levels were 13 times higher in 1965 than in 2000 and declined at a rate that varied from 4 to 15% per year from 1965 to 1985, followed by a small peak in the mid-1990s. The job-/industry-specific estimates had greater differences between exposure levels than the calibrated JEM estimates (97.5th percentile/2.5th percentile exposure level, BGR95B: 20.4 versus 3.0, respectively). The calibrated JEM and job-/industry-specific estimates were moderately correlated in any given year (Pearson correlation, rp = 0.58). We classified only those jobs and industries with a job or industry JEM exposure probability rating of 3 (>50% of workers exposed) as exposed. As a result, 14.8% of the subjects and 8.7% of the employed person-years in the study population were classified as benzene exposed. The cumulative exposure metrics based on the calibrated JEM and job-/industry-specific estimates were highly correlated (rp = 0.88).
We provide a useful framework for combining quantitative exposure data with expert-based exposure ratings in population-based studies that maximized the information from both sources. Our framework calibrated the ratings to a concentration scale between ratings and across time and provided a mechanism to estimate exposure when a job/industry group reported by a subject was not represented in the exposure database. It also allowed the job/industry groups’ exposure levels to deviate from the pooled average for their respective JEM intensity ratings.
PMCID: PMC3259038  PMID: 21976309
benzene; job-exposure matrix; mixed-effects models; retrospective exposure assessment
14.  Maternal Exposure to Occupational Solvents and Childhood Leukemia 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2005;113(6):787-792.
Many organic solvents are considered probable carcinogens. We carried out a population-based case–control study including 790 incident cases of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia and as many healthy controls, matched on age and sex. Maternal occupational exposure to solvents before and during pregnancy was estimated using the expert method, which involves chemists coding each individual’s job for specific contaminants. Home exposure to solvents was also evaluated. The frequency of exposure to specific agents or mixtures was generally low. Results were generally similar for the period ranging from 2 years before pregnancy up to birth and for the pregnancy period alone. For the former period, the odds ratio (OR), adjusted for maternal age and sex, for any exposure to all solvents together was 1.11 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.88–1.40]. Increased risks were observed for specific exposures, such as to 1,1,1-trichloroethane (OR = 7.55; 95% CI, 0.92–61.97), toluene (OR = 1.88; 95% CI, 1.01–3.47), and mineral spirits (OR = 1.82; 95% CI, 1.05–3.14). There were stronger indications of moderately increased risks associated with exposure to alkanes (C5–C17; OR = 1.78; 95% CI, 1.11–2.86) and mononuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (OR = 1.64; 95% CI, 1.12–2.41). Risk did not increase with increasing exposure, except for alkanes, where a significant trend (p = 0.04) was observed. Home exposure was not associated with increased risk. Using an elaborate exposure coding method, this study shows that maternal exposure to solvents in the workplace does not seem to play a major role in childhood leukemia.
PMCID: PMC1257608  PMID: 15929905
acute lymphoblastic leukemia; child; childhood leukemia; maternal occupational exposure; solvents
15.  A case-control study to investigate the risk of leukaemia associated with exposure to benzene in petroleum marketing and distribution workers in the United Kingdom. 
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the risk of leukaemia in workers in the petroleum distribution industry who were exposed to low levels of benzene. METHODS: From the cohort of distribution workers, 91 cases were identified as having leukaemia on either a death certificate or on cancer registration. These cases were compared with controls (four per case) randomly selected from the cohort, who were from the same company as the respective case, matched for age, and alive and under follow up at the time of case occurrence. Work histories were collected for the cases and controls, together with information about the terminals at which they had worked, fuel compositions, and occupational hygiene measurements of benzene. These data were used to derive quantitative estimates of personal exposure to benzene. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated conditional on the matching, to identify those variables in the study which were associated with risk of leukaemia. Examination of the potential effects of confounding and other variables was carried out with conditional logistic regression. Analyses were carried out for all leukaemia and separately for acute lymphoblastic, chronic lymphocytic, acute myeloid and monocytic, and chronic myeloid leukaemias. RESULTS: There was no significant increase in the overall risk of all leukaemias with higher cumulative exposure to benzene or with intensity of exposure, but risk was consistently doubled in subjects employed in the industry for > 10 years. Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia tended to occur in workers employed after 1950, who started work after the age of 30, worked for a short duration, and experienced low cumulative exposure with few peaks. The ORs did not increase with increasing cumulative exposure. The risk of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia seemed to be related most closely to duration of employment and the highest risk occurred in white collar workers with long service. These workers had only background levels of benzene exposure. There was no evidence of an association of risk with any exposure variables, and no evidence of an increasing risk with increasing cumulative exposure, mean intensity, or maximum intensity of exposure. The patterns of risk for acute myeloid and monocytic leukaemia were different from those of the lymphoid subgroups, in which duration of employment was the variable most closely related to risk. Risk was increased to an OR of 2.8 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.8 to 9.4) for a cumulative exposure between 4.5 and 45 ppm-years compared with < 0.45 ppm-years. For mean intensity between 0.2 and 0.4 ppm an OR of 2.8 (95% CI 0.9 to 8.5) was found compared with < 0.02 ppm. Risk did not increase with cumulative exposure, maximum intensity, or mean intensity of exposure when treated as continuous variables. Cases of acute myeloid and monocytic leukaemia were more often classified as having peaked exposures than controls, and when variables characterising peaks, particularly daily and weekly peaks, were included in the analysis these tended to dominate the other exposure variables. However, because of the small numbers it is not possible to distinguish the relative influence of peaked and unpeaked exposures on risk of acute myeloid and monocytic leukaemia. There was no evidence of an increased risk of chronic myeloid leukaemia with increases in cumulative exposure, maximum intensity, mean intensity, and duration of employment, either as continuous or categorical variables. Analyses exploring the sensitivity of the results to the source and quality of the work histories showed similar patterns in general. However, no increases in ORs for categories of cumulative exposure were found for acute myeloid and monocytic leukaemia in the data set which included work histories obtained from personnel records still in existence, although numbers were reduced. Analyses excluding the last five and 10 years of exposure showed a tendency for ORs to reduce for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and chronic myeloid leukaemia, and to increase for acute myeloid and monocytic leukaemia. Limitations of the study include uncertainties and gaps in the information collected, and small numbers in subcategories of exposure which can lead to wide CIs around the risk estimates and poor fit of the mathematical models. CONCLUSIONS: There is no evidence in this study of an association between exposure to benzene and lymphoid leukaemia, either acute or chronic. There is some suggestion of a relation between exposure to benzene and myeloid leukaemia, in particular for acute myeloid and monocytic leukaemia. Peaked exposures seemed to be experienced for this disease. However, in view of the limitations of the study, doubt remains as to whether the risk of acute myeloid and monocytic leukaemia is increased by cumulative exposures of < 45 ppm-years. Further work is recommended to review the work histories and redefine their quality, to explore the discrepancies between results for categorical and continuous variables, and to develop ranges around the expose estimates to enable further sensitivity analyses to be carried out.
PMCID: PMC1128678  PMID: 9155776
16.  Increased standardized incidence ratio of breast cancer in female electronics workers 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:102.
In 1994, a hazardous waste site, polluted by the dumping of solvents from a former electronics factory, was discovered in Taoyuan, Taiwan. This subsequently emerged as a serious case of contamination through chlorinated hydrocarbons with suspected occupational cancer. The objective of this study was to determine if there was any increased risk of breast cancer among female workers in a 23-year follow-up period.
A total of 63,982 female workers were retrospectively recruited from the database of the Bureau of Labor Insurance (BLI) covering the period 1973–1997; the data were then linked with data, up to 2001, from the National Cancer Registry at the Taiwanese Department of Health, from which standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for different types of cancer were calculated as compared to the general population.
There were a total of 286 cases of breast cancer, and after adjustment for calendar year and age, the SIR was close to 1. When stratified by the year 1974 (the year in which the regulations on solvent use were promulgated), the SIR of the cohort of workers who were first employed prior to 1974 increased to 1.38 (95% confidence interval, 1.11–1.70). No such trend was discernible for workers employed after 1974. When 10 years of employment was considered, there was a further increase in the SIR for breast cancer, to 1.62. Those workers with breast cancer who were first employed prior to 1974 were employed at a younger age and for a longer period. Previous qualitative studies of interviews with the workers, corroborated by inspection records, showed a short-term high exposure to chlorinated alkanes and alkenes, particularly trichloroethylene before 1974. There were no similar findings on other types of cancer.
Female workers with exposure to trichloroethylene and/or mixture of solvents, first employed prior to 1974, may have an excess risk of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC1906757  PMID: 17559641
17.  Evaluation of exposure to contaminated drinking water and specific birth defects and childhood cancers at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina: a case–control study 
Environmental Health  2013;12:104.
Drinking water supplies at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were contaminated with trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, benzene, vinyl chloride and trans-1,2-dichloroethylene during 1968 through 1985.
We conducted a case control study to determine if children born during 1968–1985 to mothers with residential exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune during pregnancy were more likely to have childhood hematopoietic cancers, neural tube defects (NTDs), or oral clefts. For cancers, exposures during the first year of life were also evaluated. Cases and controls were identified through a survey of parents residing on base during pregnancy and confirmed by medical records. Controls were randomly sampled from surveyed participants who had a live birth without a major birth defect or childhood cancer. Groundwater contaminant fate and transport and distribution system models provided estimates of monthly levels of drinking water contaminants at mothers’ residences. Magnitude of odds ratios (ORs) was used to assess associations. Confidence intervals (CIs) were used to indicate precision of ORs. We evaluated parental characteristics and pregnancy history to assess potential confounding.
Confounding was negligible so unadjusted results were presented. For NTDs and average 1st trimester exposures, ORs for any benzene exposure and for trichloroethylene above 5 parts per billion were 4.1 (95% CI: 1.4-12.0) and 2.4 (95% CI: 0.6-9.6), respectively. For trichloroethylene, a monotonic exposure response relationship was observed. For childhood cancers and average 1st trimester exposures, ORs for any tetrachloroethylene exposure and any vinyl chloride exposure were 1.6 (95% CI: 0.5-4.8), and 1.6 (95% CI: 0.5-4.7), respectively. The study found no evidence suggesting any other associations between outcomes and exposures.
Although CIs were wide, ORs suggested associations between drinking water contaminants and NTDs. ORs suggested weaker associations with childhood hematopoietic cancers.
PMCID: PMC3880212  PMID: 24304547
Neural tube defects; Childhood cancers; Environmental epidemiology; Trichloroethylene; Water
18.  Assessment of occupational exposures in a general population: comparison of different methods 
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the relative merits of job specific questionnaires and various alternative assessment methods of occupational exposures often used in general population studies. METHODS: Subjects were participants in a hospital based case-control study of risk factors for male infertility. Estimates of exposure to organic solvents and chromium, based on job specific questionnaires, generic questionnaires, self reports of exposure, an external job exposure matrix (JEM), and a population specific JEM were compared with passive diffuse dosimeter results and measurements in urine. Urine samples from the end of the shift were analysed for metabolites of toluene, xylene, several glycol ethers, trichloroethylene, and chromium. Passive dosimeter date, metabolites of specific solvents, and urinary chromium concentrations were available for 89, 267, and 156 subjects, respectively. The alternative methods and measurements in urine were compared by means of the Cohen's kappa statistic and by computing the positive predictive value, sensitivity, and specificity of the alternative methods against measurements in urine. RESULTS: Passive dosimeter results indicated that exposure classifications with job specific questionnaire information could discriminate between high and low exposures. The kappa coefficients were < 0.4, so agreement between the various methods and measurements in urine was poor. Sensitivity of the methods ranged from 0.21 to 0.85, whereas specificity ranged from 0.34 to 0.94. Positive predictive values ranged from 0.19 to 0.58, with the highest values for job specific questionnaires. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that the implementation of job specific questionnaires in a general population study might be worth the extra expense it entails, bearing in mind the paramount importance of avoiding false positive exposure estimates when exposure prevalence is low.
PMCID: PMC1757718  PMID: 10448321
19.  Spontaneous abortions among women working in the pharmaceutical industry. 
A register based study was conducted on the pregnancy outcome of female workers in eight Finnish pharmaceutical factories to determine whether they had a higher risk of spontaneous abortion than the general population or matched controls. Information about all female workers who had been employed in the factories during the years 1973 or 1975 (four factories) to 1980 was obtained from the employers. The workers' pregnancy data were collected from the nation wide hospital discharge register and polyclinic data of hospitals from 1973 to 1981. The total number of 1795 pregnancies included 1179 deliveries, 142 spontaneous abortions, and 474 induced abortions. The spontaneous abortion rate (the number of spontaneous abortions X 100, divided by the number of spontaneous abortions plus the number of births) during employment was 10.9% and before/after employment 10.6%. The rate for all the women in the corresponding central hospital districts was 11.3% [corrected] during the study period. A case-control study was also carried out in which the cases were 44 women who had a spontaneous abortion during employment in the pharmaceutical factory. Three age matched female pharmaceutical factory workers who had given birth to a child were chosen as controls for every case. The information about occupational exposures was collected from questionnaires completed by the occupational physician or nurse at the factory. The response rate was 93%. Exposure to chemicals was more common among the cases than among the controls. For methylene chloride, a solvent commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry, the increase in odds ratio of borderline significance (odds ratio 2.3, p = 0.06). In a logistic regression model (which included oestrogen exposure, solvent exposure frequency of the usage, and heavy lifting) the odds ratio was increased for oestrogens (odds ratio 4.2, p = 0.05) and for continuous heavy lifting (odds ratio 5.7, p = 0.02). The odds ratio for spontaneous abortions was greater among those exposed to four or more solvents (odds ratio 3.5, p=0.05) than among those exposed to one to three solvents (odds ration 0.8, p=0.74).
PMCID: PMC1007633  PMID: 3947584
20.  Enzymes induced by ethanol differently affect the pharmacokinetics of trichloroethylene and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. 
This study was undertaken to clarify the effect of enzymes induced by ethanol consumption on the pharmacokinetics of trichloroethylene (TRI, a highly metabolised substance) and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TRI, a poorly metabolised substance). Rats maintained on a control liquid diet or a liquid diet containing ethanol (2 g/day/rat) for not less than three weeks were exposed to either TRI (50, 100, 500, and 1000 ppm) or 1,1,1-TRI (50, 100, and 500 ppm) by inhalation for six hours and the concentration of each compound in the blood and the urinary excretion of metabolites (trichloroethanol and trichloroacetic acid) were measured over several hours. Ethanol, which increased the in vitro metabolism of both compounds about fivefold, enhanced the in vivo metabolism of TRI only at high levels of exposure (marginally at 500 and considerably at 1000 ppm), whereas the metabolism of 1,1,1-TRI was enhanced at all concentrations tested. Moreover, there was a definite difference in the effect of induction of enzymes between the two solvents: the enhanced metabolism of TRI in vivo was shown by a decrease in the blood concentration of TRI as well as by an increase in the urinary excretion of its metabolites, whereas that of 1,1,1-TRI was shown by an increase in the urinary excretion of its metabolites alone. These results suggest that the induction of enzymes differentially affects the pharmacokinetics of TRI and 1,1,1-TRI in human occupational exposure: TRI metabolism may be increased only at concentrations much higher than the current occupational exposure limit (mostly 50 ppm), whereas 1,1,1-TRI metabolism may be increased at an exposure similar to occupational exposure.
PMCID: PMC1127915  PMID: 8111458
21.  Adverse reproductive outcomes among male painters with occupational exposure to organic solvents 
To assess the risks of reproductive disorders and birth defects in offspring of male painters with exposure to organic solvents, and to determine the shape of the dose‐response relationship.
Random samples of painters and carpenters were drawn from workers affiliated with the Dutch Trade Union for Construction Workers, the Netherlands, 2001. Information on reproductive outcomes, occupational exposures, and lifestyle habits was retrospectively obtained through self‐administered questionnaires filled in by 398 painters exposed to organic solvents in paints, thinners, and cleansers in the period of three months before the last pregnancy, and 302 carpenters with little or no exposure to solvents. A statistical model was used to estimate quantitative exposure measures.
Workers employed as painters at three months before pregnancy had an increased risk (odds ratio 6.2, 95% CI 1.4 to 27.9) of congenital malformations in offspring compared to carpenters. There was a positive exposure‐response trend with increasing exposure to organic solvents based on quantitative model predicted exposure estimates using toluene as a marker. There was some indication of an increased risk of functional developmental disorders in offspring among painters with intermediate and high model predicted exposure. The risk of low birth weight children seemed to be slightly increased among painters as well. Results for other reproductive outcomes (time to pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, and preterm birth) did not show increased risks.
This study showed a positive association between paternal occupational exposure to organic solvents and congenital malformations in offspring. However, the small numbers of cases, especially when examining different exposure levels, as well as the self‐reported nature of exposure and outcome variables, may hamper interpretation of the results.
PMCID: PMC2078125  PMID: 16757511
paternal exposure; pregnancy; solvents
22.  Modeling and analysis of personal exposures to VOC mixtures using copulas 
Environment international  2013;63:236-245.
Environmental exposures typically involve mixtures of pollutants, which must be understood to evaluate cumulative risks, that is, the likelihood of adverse health effects arising from two or more chemicals. This study uses several powerful techniques to characterize dependency structures of mixture components in personal exposure measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with aims of advancing the understanding of environmental mixtures, improving the ability to model mixture components in a statistically valid manner, and demonstrating broadly applicable techniques. We first describe characteristics of mixtures and introduce several terms, including the mixture fraction which represents a mixture component's share of the total concentration of the mixture. Next, using VOC exposure data collected in the Relationship of Indoor Outdoor and Personal Air (RIOPA) study, mixtures are identified using positive matrix factorization (PMF) and by toxicological mode of action. Dependency structures of mixture components are examined using mixture fractions and modeled using copulas, which address dependencies of multiple variables across the entire distribution. Five candidate copulas (Gaussian, t, Gumbel, Clayton, and Frank) are evaluated, and the performance of fitted models was evaluated using simulation and mixture fractions. Cumulative cancer risks are calculated for mixtures, and results from copulas and multivariate lognormal models are compared to risks calculated using the observed data. Results obtained using the RIOPA dataset showed four VOC mixtures, representing gasoline vapor, vehicle exhaust, chlorinated solvents and disinfection by-products, and cleaning products and odorants. Often, a single compound dominated the mixture, however, mixture fractions were generally heterogeneous in that the VOC composition of the mixture changed with concentration. Three mixtures were identified by mode of action, representing VOCs associated with hematopoietic, liver and renal tumors. Estimated lifetime cumulative cancer risks exceeded 10−3 for about 10% of RIOPA participants. Factors affecting the likelihood of high concentration mixtures included city, participant ethnicity, and house air exchange rates. The dependency structures of the VOC mixtures fitted Gumbel (two mixtures) and t (four mixtures) copulas, types that emphasize tail dependencies. Significantly, the copulas reproduced both risk predictions and exposure fractions with a high degree of accuracy, and performed better than multivariate lognormal distributions. Copulas may be the method of choice for VOC mixtures, particularly for the highest exposures or extreme events, cases that poorly fit lognormal distributions and that represent the greatest risks.
PMCID: PMC4233140  PMID: 24333991
Copula; Cumulative effects; Exposure determinants; Mixture; RIOPA; VOC
23.  Variability in biological monitoring of solvent exposure. I. Development of a population physiological model. 
Biological indicators of exposure to solvents are often characterised by a high variability that may be due either to fluctuations in exposure or individual differences in the workers. To describe and understand this variability better a physiological model for differing workers under variable industrial environments has been developed. Standard statistical distributions are used to simulate variability in exposure concentration, physical workload, body build, liver function, and renal clearance. For groups of workers exposed daily, the model calculates air monitoring indicators and biological monitoring results (expired air, blood, and urine). The results obtained are discussed and compared with measured data, both physiological (body build, cardiac output, alveolar ventilation) and toxicokinetic for six solvents: 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, benzene, toluene, styrene, and their main metabolites. Possible applications of this population physiological model are presented.
PMCID: PMC1009808  PMID: 2765418
24.  Occupational trichloroethylene exposure and renal carcinoma risk: evidence of genetic susceptibility by reductive metabolism gene variants 
Cancer research  2010;70(16):6527-6536.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a suspected renal carcinogen. TCE-associated renal genotoxicity occurs predominantly through glutathione S-transferase (GST) conjugation and bioactivation by renal cysteine beta-lyase (CCBL1). We conducted a case-control study in Central Europe (1,097 cases/1,476 controls), specifically designed to assess risk associated with occupational exposure to TCE through analysis of detailed job histories. All jobs were coded for organic/chlorinated solvent and TCE exposure (ever/never) as well as the frequency and intensity of exposure based on detailed occupational questionnaires, specialized questionnaires, and expert assessments. Increased risk was observed among subjects ever TCE-exposed (OR=1.63, 95% CI: 1.04–2.54). Exposure-response trends were observed among subjects above and below the median exposure [average intensity (OR=1.38, 95% CI:0.81–2.35; OR=2.34, 95% CI:1.05–5.21, p-trend=0.02)]. A significant association was found among TCE-exposed subjects with at least one intact GSTT1 allele (active genotype) (OR=1.88, 95% CI:1.06–3.33) but not among subjects with two deleted alleles (null genotype) (OR=0.93, 95% CI:0.35–2.44, p-interaction=0.18). Similar associations for all exposure metrics including average intensity were observed among GSTT1 active subjects (OR=1.56, 95% CI:0.79–3.10; OR=2.77, 95% CI:1.01–7.58, p-trend=0.02) but not among GSTT1 nulls (OR=0.81, 95% CI:0.24–2.72; OR=1.16, 95% CI:0.27–5.04, p-trend=1.00, p-interaction=0.34). Further evidence of heterogeneity was seen among TCE-exposed subjects with ≥1 minor allele of several CCBL1 tagging SNPs: [rs2293968, rs2280841, rs2259043, rs941960]. These findings provide the strongest evidence to date that TCE exposure is associated with increased renal cancer risk, particularly among individuals carrying polymorphisms in genes that are important in the reductive metabolism of this chemical, and provides biological plausibility of the association in humans.
PMCID: PMC2922418  PMID: 20663906
25.  Does diisocyanate exposure result in neurotoxicity? 
Diisocyanates have been associated with respiratory and dermal sensitization. Limited number of case reports, and a few case studies, media, and other references suggest potential neurotoxic effects from exposures to toluene diisocyanate (TDI), 1,6 hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI), and methylene diisocyanate (MDI). However, a systematic review of the literature evaluating the causal association on humans does not exist to support this alleged association.
To perform systematic review examining the body of epidemiologic evidence and provide assessment of causal association based on principles of the Sir Austin Bradford Hill criteria or considerations for causal analysis.
A comprehensive search of public databases for published abstracts, case reports, cross-sectional surveys, and cohort studies using key search terms was conducted. Additional searches included regulatory reviews, EU IUCLID and EU Risk Assessment databases, and unpublished reports in the International Isocyanate Institute database. An expert panel consisting of physicians, toxicologists, and an epidemiologist critically reviewed accepted papers, providing examination of epidemiologic evidence of each report. Finally, the Hill criteria for causation were applied to the summative analysis of identified reports to estimate probability of causal association.
Twelve papers reporting exposed populations with a variety of neurological symptoms or findings suitable for analysis were identified, including eleven case or case series reports, and one cross-sectional study. Three papers reported on the same population. Each of the papers was limited by paucity of diisocyanate exposure estimates, the presence of confounding exposures to known or suspected neurotoxicants, a lack of objective biological measures of exposure or neurotoxic effects, and lack of relative strength of association measures. Additionally, reported health symptoms and syndromes lacked consistency or specificity. No plausible mechanism of toxicity was found. Application of a predictive mathematical model for determining probability of causal association for neurotoxicity was calculated to be 21%.
There is insufficient evidence for a causal association of neurotoxic effects and diisocyanate exposure based on lack of evidence in all categories of the Hill criteria for causality except for temporal association of reported symptoms and alleged exposure. Future reports should attempt to address more rigorous exposure assessment and control for confounding exposures.
PMCID: PMC4025582  PMID: 24645904
Diisocyanate; Neurotoxicity; Peripheral nervous system; TDI; MDI; HDI; Central Nervous System; Sir Bradford Hill Criteria

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