May 2023 additions to NERDB

May 2023 additions to NERDB

NERDB is the New and emerging risks database. This bibliographic database is an initiative of Nicole Palmen and Annet Lenderink with the support of Modernet and is currently powered by Airtable.

More information on this database is on the NERDB page

We will publish regular updates on new disease-exposure combinations we added to the database on the website. Currently, we have 380 entries. Ordered by the year in which the abstract is published

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New entries:

Picture byn hanul choi via Pixabay

Wiebert P, Andersson T, Feychting M, et al. Occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica and acute myocardial infarction among men and women in Sweden. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2023;80:21-26.

Objectives Occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is common. The study aimed to assess the risk for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) after long-term exposure to RCS and to explore differences in risk between men and women.

Methods The cohort included all manual workers identified from the Swedish National Census in 1980 using data on job titles and demography altogether from five censuses from 1960 to 1990, in total 605 246 men and 480 607 women. Information on AMI was obtained from nationwide registers from 1992 to 2006. Exposure to RCS was assessed with a job-exposure matrix. HRs and 95% CIs were estimated by Cox regression, adjusted for age, socioeconomic status and urbanisation index.

Results Among manual workers ever exposed to RCS, the adjusted risk of AMI was HR 1.29 (95% CI 1.15 to 1.46) in women, and HR 1.02 (95% CI 1.00 to 1.04) in men. In the highest quartile of cumulative exposure, the risk of AMI was HR 1.66 (95% CI 1.27 to 2.18) for women, and HR 1.06 (95% CI 1.03 to 1.10) for men, respectively. The risk of AMI increased with cumulative exposure to RCS both in women (p=0.001) and in men (p=0.016). An interaction analysis showed that the relative risk from exposure to RCS was statistically significantly lower in men than in women at similar exposure levels.

Conclusions Occupational exposure to RCS was related to the risk of AMI. Women were more sensitive to exposure to RCS than men.

Baatjies, R., Chamba, P., & Jeebhay, M. F. (2023). Wood dust and asthmaCurrent Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology23(2), 76-84.

Purpose of the review: Review recent developments on asthma associated with wood dust, given the increasing scale of wood handling and processing activities globally.

Recent findings: Work in wood industries is associated with a significantly increased risk of respiratory symptoms, rhinitis and asthma. This can be attributed to traditional processing techniques and newer technologies producing complex bioaerosol exposures, which may include chemicals.

Meta-analysis studies indicate strong evidence for wood dusts as occupational sensitizers for asthma, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood.

The global prevalence of asthma in woodworkers ranges between 6-18% and for rhinitis 16-33%. Exposure estimates show wide variation. Risk factors include atopy and exposure to certain wood species, elevated current and cumulative particulate exposures.

Summary: Future studies should focus on better characterization of wood dust allergens and other bioaerosol components, specific immunoglobulin E responses to different wood species, pathophysiological mechanisms underlying asthma, and modelling dose-response relationships using refined exposure metrics for dust particulate and other bioaerosol components.

There is a need for improved health-based international exposure standards and effective workplace control measures to reduce exposures to wood dust particulate (hard and soft woods), endotoxin and β-glucan, to reduce the risks of asthma in woodworkers.

Del Monaco, A., Dimitriadis, C., Xie, S., Benke, G., Sim, M. R., & Walker-Bone, K. (2023). Workers in Australian prebake aluminium smelters: update on risk of mortality and cancer incidence in the Healthwise cohort. Occupational and Environmental Medicine80(3), 160-169.

Objectives: To investigate mortality and the rates of incident cancer among a cohort of aluminium industry workers.

Methods: Among 4507 male employees who worked in either of two Australian prebake smelters for at least 3 months, data linkage was undertaken with the Australian National Death Index and Australian Cancer Database. Standardised Mortality Ratios (SMRs) and Standardised Incidence Rates (SIRs) were estimated for the whole cohort and for production; maintenance and office workers. SMRs and SIRs were calculated by time since first employment.

Results: Among production workers, there was an excess risk of mortality from mesothelioma (SMR 2.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 5.2), lung (SMR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.8), prostate (SMR 1.9, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.7) and liver cancer (SMR 2.0, 95% CI 1.1 to 3.4) and the SIR was also increased for overall respiratory cancers, specifically lung cancers. An excess risk of death from stomach cancer (SMR 2.9, 95% CI 1.2 to 6.1) and Alzheimer’s disease (SMR 3.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 7.9) was seen among maintenance workers. The overall risk of death was similar to that of the Australian general population, as was mortality from cancers overall and non-malignant respiratory disease.

ConclusionsNo excess risk of death from bladder cancer or non-malignant respiratory disease was found. Excess lung cancer mortality and incidence may be explained by smoking and excess mortality from mesothelioma may be explained by asbestos exposure. An excess risk of mortality from liver and prostate cancer has been shown in production workers and requires further investigation.

Card, J. W., Scaife, K. M., & Haighton, L. A. (2022). Review of evidence relating to occupational exposure limits for alpha-diketones and acetoin, and considerations for deriving an occupational exposure limit for 2, 3-pentanedioneCritical Reviews in Toxicology52(9), 715-730.

Alpha-diketones, notably diacetyl, have been used as flavoring agents. When airborne in occupational settings, exposures to diacetyl have been associated with serious respiratory disease. Other α-diketones, such as 2,3-pentanedione, and analogues such as acetoin (a reduced form of diacetyl), require evaluation, particularly, in light of recently available toxicological studies.

The current work reviewed mechanistic, metabolic, and toxicology data available for α-diketones. Data were most available for diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione, and a comparative assessment of their pulmonary effects was performed, and an occupational exposure limit (OEL) was proposed for 2,3-pentanedione. Previous OELs were reviewed and an updated literature search was performed.

Respiratory system histopathology data from 3-month toxicology studies were evaluated with benchmark dose (BMD) modelling of sensitive endpoints. This demonstrated comparable responses at concentrations up to 100 ppm, with no consistent overall pattern of greater sensitivity to either diacetyl or 2,3-pentanedione.

In contrast, based on draft raw data, no adverse respiratory effects were observed in comparable 3-month toxicology studies that evaluated exposure to acetoin at up to 800 ppm (highest tested concentration), indicating that acetoin does not present the same inhalation hazard as diacetyl or 2,3-pentanedione.

To derive an OEL for 2,3-pentanedione, BMD modelling was conducted for the most sensitive endpoint from 90-day inhalation toxicity studies, namely, hyperplasia of nasal respiratory epithelium. On the basis of this modelling, an 8-hour time-weighted average OEL of 0.07 ppm is proposed to be protective against respiratory effects that may be associated with chronic workplace exposure to 2,3-pentanedione.



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