[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Workers in the meat industry are exposed to viruses that cause leukemia and lymphoma in cattle and chickens, and also to carcinogenic chemical agents. This case-control study, nested in a cohort of members of a meatcutters' union in Baltimore, Maryland, investigated whether occupational exposures are associated with death from tumors of the hemopoietic and lymphatic systems. Cases of these tumors represent all deaths which occurred in the cohort between 1949 and 1980. Excess risks of tumors of the hemopoietic and lymphatic systems were observed throughout the meat industry, except in meatpacking plants. Slaughtering activities involving heavy exposure to oncogenic viruses were strongly associated with these tumors, especially with lymphomas. Thus, elevated risks were observed for butchers who killed animals (odds ratio (OR) = 5.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0-27.0); workers in chicken-slaughtering plants (OR = 3.3, 95% CI 0.8-13.1); and workers in cattle/sheep/pig abattoirs (OR = 2.8, 95% CI 0.8-9.5). Among supermarket workers, wrapping meat (mainly a female activity) was associated with increased risk of tumors of the hemopoietic and lymphatic systems (OR = 3.8, 95% CI 1.0-14.3), with the odds of both lymphomas and tumors of the myeloid stem cell being elevated. On the other hand, meatcutting in supermarkets (almost exclusively a male activity) was associated with multiple myeloma; the odds ratio for men was 18.0 (95% CI 1.6-207.5), with no myeloma cases being recorded in women. These associations persisted after limited control for exposures outside the industry that have also been observed to be associated with excess risk, such as exposure to pesticides, working/living on pig farms, and exposure to X-rays. The findings provide evidence that workers in the meat industry may be at elevated risk of tumors of the hemopoietic and lymphatic systems. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to identify more conclusively which exposures play an etiologic role in the occurrence of the different histologic types of these tumors.
American Journal of Epidemiology 04/1998; 147(8):727-38. · 4.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To ascertain possible evidence for radiosensitive subgroups in the Japanese atomic-bomb survivors.
Time- and age-adjusted relative risk models were fitted to the Japanese atomic-bomb survivor mortality data, taking account of the modifying effects of acute injury status and adjusting for random dosimetric errors.
For leukaemia, there were statistically significantly higher relative risks among those persons reporting either epilation (two-sided p=0.03) or burns (two-sided p=0.02), but after adjustment is made for the effects of dosimetric error these results become statistically non-significant (two-sided p>0.05) For all other endpoints (cancers other than leukaemia, benign neoplasms, cardiovascular disease, non-cancer and non-cardiovascular disease) there were no statistically significant modifying effects on relative risk of acute injury status, whether or not adjustment is made for the effects of dosimetric error.
Apart from leukaemia, there are generally no indications for cancer or other disease endpoints of variations in dose-response by acute injury status. The increased risks observed for leukaemia among those reporting epilation or burns are much diminished after adjustment for dosimetric error, and so there is no strong evidence of a sensitive subgroup within the Life Span Study cohort.
International Journal of Radiation Biology 12/2002; 78(11):1001-1010. · 1.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the past 50 years, our laboratory has provided consultations dealing with the risks of various environmental toxicant exposures during pregnancy. These contacts were primarily by telephone or written communications. Since the year 2000, the primary source of consultations has been via the internet. In 2007, the pregnancy website of the Health Physics Society received 1,299,672 visits. The contacts who downloaded information totaled 620,035. After reading the website information, 1442 individuals who were still concerned contacted me directly. Unfortunately, we have learned that many physicians and other counselors are not prepared to counsel patients concerning radiation risks. Approximately, 8% of the website contacts, who had consulted a professional, were provided inaccurate information that could have resulted in an unnecessary interruption of a wanted pregnancy. Research from our and other investigators' laboratories has provided radiation risk data that are the basis for properly counseling contacts with radiation exposures. Mammalian animal research has been an important source of information that improves the quality and accuracy of estimating the reproductive and developmental risks of ionizing radiation in humans. What are the reproductive and developmental risks of in utero ionizing radiation exposure? 1. Birth defects, mental retardation, and other neurobehavioral effects, growth retardation, and embryonic death are deterministic effects (threshold effects). This indicates that these effects have a no adverse effect level (NOAEL). Almost all diagnostic radiological procedures provide exposures that are below the NOAEL for these developmental effects. 2. For the embryo to be deleteriously affected by ionizing radiation when the mother is exposed to a diagnostic study, the embryo has to be exposed above the NOAEL to increase the risk of deterministic effects. This rarely happens when the pregnant women have x-ray studies of the head, neck, chest or extremities. 3. During the preimplantation and preorganogenesis stages of embryonic development, the embryo is least likely to be malformed by the effects of ionizing radiation because the cells of the very young embryo are omnipotential and can replace adjacent cells that have been deleteriously affected. This early period of development has been designated as "the all-or-none period." 4. Protraction and fractionation of exposures of ionizing radiation to the embryo decrease the magnitude of the deleterious effects of deterministic effects. 5. The increased risk of cancer following high exposures to ionizing radiation exposure to adult populations has been demonstrated in the atomic bomb survivor population. Radiation-induced carcinogenesis is assumed to be a stochastic effect (nonthreshold effect) so that there is theoretically a risk at low exposures. Whereas there is no question that high exposures of ionizing radiation can increase the risk of cancer, the magnitude of the risk of cancer from embryonic exposures following diagnostic radiological procedures is very controversial. Recent publications and analyses indicate that the risk is lower for the irradiated embryo than the irradiated child, which surprised many scientists interested in this subject, and that there may be no increased carcinogenic risk from diagnostic radiological studies. Examples of appropriate and inappropriate counseling will be presented to demonstrate how counseling can save lives and change family histories. The reader is referred to the Health Physics Society website to obtain many examples of the answers to questions posed by women and men who have been exposed to radiation (www.hps.org). Then click on ATE (ask the expert).
American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 02/2009; 200(1):4-24. · 3.28 Impact Factor
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