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4.  Authors' reply 
PMCID: PMC1035298
5.  Authors' reply 
PMCID: PMC1035296
6.  Authors' reply 
PMCID: PMC1035294
10.  Differences in frequency of finger tremor in otherwise asymptomatic mercury workers. 
Tremor was measured from the index finger during low force, position holding in 18 control subjects and 18 battery workers with low level exposure to mercury. All workers were asymptomatic on clinical neurological examination. No differences were found in average tremor amplitudes between the groups, but statistically significant abnormalities in tremor frequency distribution existed. Tremor power spectra in the group of mercury workers were shifted toward the higher frequencies and compressed into narrow frequency peaks. These results suggest that measurements of finger tremor that evaluate the frequency distribution can produce a higher diagnostic yield than traditional visual clinical judgement. The findings also confirm other reports that currently permitted exposures to mercury are associated with subtle but distinctive differences in tremor accompanying voluntary movement.
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PMCID: PMC1035292  PMID: 2271392
11.  Hydrocarbon exposure, pancreatitis, and bile acids. 
The data on hydrocarbon induced pancreatitis are conflicting. This question was therefore studied in a non-selected population exposed to hydrocarbons and in "formerly" exposed workers. Neither the past clinical history nor the pancreatic tests provided any evidence for a causal relation between exposure and pancreatitis. No signs of hydrocarbon induced liver damage were seen either. As a healthy worker effect cannot be totally excluded, however, a case-control study in a group of patients suffering from non-alcohol induced pancreatitis could give useful indications for finally excluding the possibility of pancreatitis being induced by hydrocarbons.
PMCID: PMC1035291  PMID: 2271391
12.  Pulmonary effects of acute exposure to degradation products of sulphur hexafluoride during electrical cable repair work. 
Six electrical workers accidentally exposed to degradation products of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) during electrical repair work were followed up for one year. One degradation product, sulphur tetrafluoride (SF4), was identified from worksite measurements. Unprotected exposure in an underground enclosed space occurred for six hours over a 12 hour period. Initial symptoms included shortness of breath, chest tightness, productive cough, nose and eye irritation, headache, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms subsided when exposure was interrupted during attempts to identify the cause of the problem. Although exposure ended after several hours, four workers remained symptomatic for between one week and one month. Pulmonary radiographic abnormalities included several discrete areas of transitory platelike atelectasis in one worker, and a slight diffuse infiltrate in the left lower lobe of another. One worker showed transient obstructive changes in tests of pulmonary function. Examination at follow up after one year showed no persistent abnormalities. Preliminary data from this paper were presented at the VIIth international pneumoconioses conference. Pittsburgh, PA, August 1988.
PMCID: PMC1035290  PMID: 2271390
13.  Exposure to hydrogen sulphide and respiratory function. 
A study was carried out to assess possible effects of low concentrations of hydrogen sulphide on respiratory function. The cohort comprised 26 male pulp mill workers (mean age 40.3, range 22-60 years) with a daily exposure to hydrogen sulphide in the workplace, and 10 volunteers, who had asthma (three men, mean age 40.7, range 33 to 50 years, and seven women, mean age 44.1, range 31 to 61 years). The respiratory function of the pulp mill workers was monitored by measuring forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and bronchial responsiveness after at least one day off work and at the end of a workday. Bronchial responsiveness was tested by challenge with histamine. The 10 asthmatic subjects were exposed in laboratory conditions to 2 ppm of hydrogen sulphide for 30 minutes in an exposure chamber. Airway resistance (Raw) and specific airway conductance (SGaw) were assessed by a body plethysmograph, and the ventilatory capacities were measured with a flow volume spirometer. No significant changes in respiratory function or bronchial responsiveness related to exposure to hydrogen sulphide in the pulp mill workers were found. In the asthmatic subjects, Raw was increased by 26.3% and SGaw was decreased by 8.4% on average after exposure to hydrogen sulphide. These changes were not statistically significant. In two subjects, however, changes were greater than 30% in both Raw and SGaw, indicating bronchial obstruction. It is concluded that exposure for a relatively short time to hydrogen sulphide concentrations appreciably higher than those existing in ambient air do not cause noticeable effects on respiratory function.
PMCID: PMC1035289  PMID: 2271389
14.  Visual evoked potentials in rotogravure printers exposed to toluene. 
Visual evoked potentials (VEPs) from stimulation by checkerboard pattern reversal were examined in 54 rotogravure printers exposed to toluene (all men, aged 22-64 years, duration of exposure 1-41 years). A control group consisted of 46 subjects (23 men and 23 women; aged 22-54 years). Compared with controls the exposed group showed more frequent responses with reduced reproducibility or absence of some waves, or both; the mean P1 wave latency was prolonged and mean amplitudes N1P1 and P1N2 were reduced. The VEPs were abnormal in 24% of workers. The frequency of abnormal VEPs correlated positively with the duration of exposure to toluene and also with the degree of alcohol drinking. No association was found between measurements of VEP and electroencephalogram (EEG) or electromyogram (EMG) examinations. A VEP measurement was made in 78% of the exposed workers two years after the first examination. No statistically significant difference between the two results was found. This suggests a marked stability of the observed VEP changes. These changes can be interpreted as a subclinical sign of dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS) related to exposure to toluene and also to alcohol consumption.
PMCID: PMC1035288  PMID: 2271388
15.  Cancer risk among glass factory workers: an excess of lung cancer? 
A total of 3749 workers employed for at least three months in two Finnish glass factories (cohorts A and B) were followed up for cancer in 1953-86 through the Finnish Cancer Registry. In cohort A (1353 men, 1261 women), 106 primary cancers were diagnosed among men, and their standardised incidence ratio (SIR) for all cancers was 99. Among women the risk was low (65 cases, SIR 64). In cohort B (450 men, 685 women), the relative risk of cancer was close to unity for both men (57 cases) and women (75 cases). The risk of cancer was analysed by primary site, type of work, years since first exposure, and age at diagnosis. The only significantly increased risks were those of lung cancer among men (SIR 130, 95% CI 100-167, cohorts A and B combined), and skin cancer among glass blowers (SIR 625, 95% CI 129-1827). An increased risk of lung, stomach, and colon cancer as well as of brain tumours has been reported in previous studies. It is postulated that the excess risk of lung cancer, detected in this study, can also be accounted for by lifestyle, and not only by possible occupational exposures, because a similar excess risk of lung cancer has been found previously for all industrial workers in Finland. Although the risk of stomach cancer in this study was increased among glass blowers, it was not high in the largest groups of plain glass workers. The risks of tumours of the central nervous system and colon were not increased either.
PMCID: PMC1035287  PMID: 2271387
16.  An update of cancer mortality among chrysotile asbestos miners in Balangero, northern Italy. 
The mortality experience of a cohort of chrysotile miners employed since 1946 in Balangero, northern Italy was updated to the end of 1987 giving a total of 427 deaths out of 27,010 man-years at risk. A substantial excess mortality for all causes (standardised mortality ratio (SMR) = 149) was found, mainly because of high rates for some alcohol related deaths (hepatic cirrhosis, accidents). For mortality from cancer, however, the number of observed deaths (82) was close to that expected (76.2). The SMR was raised for oral cancer (SMR 231 based on six deaths), cancer of the larynx (SMR 267 based on eight deaths), and pleura (SMR 667 based on two deaths), although the excess only reached statistical significance for cancer of the larynx. Rates were not increased for lung, stomach, or any other type of cancer. No consistent association was seen with duration or cumulative dust exposure (fibre-years) for oral cancer, but the greatest risks for laryngeal and pleural cancer were in the highest category of duration and degree of exposure to fibres. Although part of the excess mortality from laryngeal cancer is probably attributable to high alcohol consumption in this group of workers, the data suggest that exposure to chrysotile asbestos (or to the fibre balangeroite that accounts for 0.2-0.5% of total mass in the mine) is associated with some, however moderate, excess risk of laryngeal cancer and pleural mesothelioma. The absence of excess mortality from lung cancer in this cohort is difficult to interpret.
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PMCID: PMC1035286  PMID: 2176805
17.  A cohort study on the mortality of firefighters. 
This study was set up to investigate the effect of exposure to combustion effluents on the chronic health of firefighters. A cohort of firefighters was followed up through 10 years with regard to cause specific mortality. Comparisons were made with another cohort of civil servants and salaried employees in physically demanding jobs. After a latency of five years, an excess mortality from cancer was seen for persons aged 30 to 74 (standardised mortality ratio (SMR) 173, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 104-270). A significant increase in lung cancer was seen in the group aged 60 to 74 (SMR 317, 95% CI 117-691), whereas non-pulmonary cancer was significantly increased in the group aged 30 to 49 (SMR 575, 95% CI 187-1341). It is concluded that inhalation of carcinogenic and toxic compounds during firefighting may constitute an occupational cancer risk. An extended use of respiratory protective equipment is advocated.
PMCID: PMC1035284  PMID: 2271386
18.  Mortality among United Kingdom servicemen who served abroad in the 1950s and 1960s. 
The Registrar General's decennial supplements on occupational mortality provide only limited information on mortality in the armed forces in the United Kingdom. Mortality has therefore been studied among a group of 30,619 United Kingdom servicemen who served abroad in tropical or desert areas in the 1950s and 1960s, and who remained in the services for a total of at least five years. Mortality from all causes of death, all neoplasms, and all other known non-violent causes was lower than that expected from rates for all men in England and Wales, whereas mortality from accidents and violence was raised. These differences remained after adjustment for social class, affected both officers and other ranks, and had not disappeared even after the men had been followed up for at least 20 years. When mortality from 20 specific cancers and 10 other disease groups was examined there were significant excesses for cancers of the oesophagus (standardised mortality ratio (SMR) = 146; p = 0.03) and prostate (SMR = 156; p = 0.03), and significant deficits for cancers of the lung (SMR = 73; p less than 0.001), stomach (SMR = 66; p = 0.002), bladder (SMR = 53; p = 0.02), other specified neoplasms (SMR = 48; p = 0.001), coronary heart disease (SMR = 76; p less than 0.001), bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive lung disease (SMR = 42; p less than 0.001), and for five further groups of diseases unrelated to smoking or alcohol. Examination of mortality in each of the three services separately identified two specific hazards in the Royal Navy; seven deaths from mesothelioma occurred compared with less than 2.06 expected (p less than 0.005), and there was also an excess of neoplasms and of other diseases associated with alcohol (SMRs of 181 and 229; p = 0.002 and less than 0.001). Mortality from smoking related diseases other than those associated with alcohol was low in all three services, particularly among officers.
PMCID: PMC1035283  PMID: 2271385
19.  Author's reply 
PMCID: PMC1035279
20.  Author's reply 
PMCID: PMC1035275

Results 1-25 (197)