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Chemical exposures, biological monitoring and cancer risks in Swedish aluminium foundries and remelting plants
Linköping University, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In aluminium foundries and remelting plants, a wide range of chemical agents are formed and emitted, including some highly toxic organochlorine compounds. This thesis explores emissions and exposures, as well as worker risk of porphyria and cancer.

During addition of hexachloroethane (HCE) for degassing of the melt, the major findings of organochlorine compounds were hexachlorobenzene (4,300 μg/g HCE) and octachlorostyrene (780 μg/g HCE).

In sand, die- and static-die casting aluminium foundries, the total dust concentrations varied up to 93 mg/m3. The aluminium exposures were generally low (< 0.5 mg/m3). For crystalline quartz, 0.1 mg/m3 was exceeded only occasionally. The levels of minor alloy metals including lead, were low (<0.01 mg/m3). At different core production methods, high levels of dimethylethylarnine, aniline and furfuryl alcohol were observed. In die-casting, 33% of the mineral oil mist levels exceeded 1 mg/m3.

For smelters, the use of HCE as degassing agent, caused increased plasma levels of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and octachlorostyrene (OCS) compared to controls. A difference in porphyrins, mainly attributed to enhanced concentrations of coproporphyrins, especially coproporphyrin III, was also noted.

In a cohort study of 6,454 workers from seven aluminium foundries and three remelting plants, no overall increased risk for cancer among male and female workers was found. Elevated risks were however seen for lung cancer, anorectal and sinonasal cancer. For sand casting workers, a statistically significant increase in lung cancer morbidity was seen for the long-term employed workers.

Based on a statistical model, cumulative total dust and crystalline quartz mg/m3 * years were assessed for 46 cases and 322 controls in a nested case-control study within the cohort. A non-significant increase in the relative risk was observed with increasing dose. The odds ratio for dust was 2.2 for the high exposure group (>29 mg/m3 * year). A similar trend was seen for crystalline quartz.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2001. , 61 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 696
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-28651Local ID: 13807ISBN: 91-7219-987-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-28651DiVA: diva2:249462
Public defence
2001-07-01, Aulan, B-huset, Regionsjukhuset, Örebro, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2012-08-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Emissions of Some Organochlorine Compounds in Experimental Aluminum Degassing with Hexachloroethane
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Emissions of Some Organochlorine Compounds in Experimental Aluminum Degassing with Hexachloroethane
1997 (English)In: Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, ISSN 1047-322X, Vol. 12, no 3, 178-183 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Degassing agents based on hexachloroethane (HCE) are used to remove hydrogen gas from molten aluminum, particularly in foundries and remelting plants. Previously considered fairly innocuous, recent studies of the emissions from this process have shown high yields of some toxic organochlorine compounds. To determine a wider spectrum of such compounds, a series of experimental degassings was carried out in a small foundry. Aluminum was melted at 740°C in an electric furnace equipped with a ventilated exhaust hood, and degassing was carried out with 0.12 percent (w/w) HCE. Particulate, condensed liquid, and gas phase samples of the emissions were collected in the exhaust suction duct and analyzed with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Chlorobenzenes, chlorophenols, chlorinated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, as well as hydrogen chloride, carbon monoxide, and total hydrocarbons were determined. In relation to HCE, the major organochlorine compounds in the fume were hexachlorobenzene (4300 μg/g), octachlorostyrene (780 μg/g), and unreacted HCE (550 μg/g). The emissions of these substances were substantially higher than for chlorinated dibenzodioxins (0.034 μg/g) and dibenzofurans (0.36 μg/g). The emission of inorganic compounds was dominated by hydrogen chloride (330,000 μg/g). These results indicate that HCE-based degassing is a source of a complex mixture of inorganic and organochlorine compounds and suggest that alternative degassing techniques should be used. Alternatively, environmental emissions should be substantially reduced by using proper ventilation and filter techniques, and workplace exposure should be closely monitored, tentatively by measurements of hexachlorobenzene and hydrogen chloride.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80073 (URN)10.1080/1047322X.1997.10389485 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-08-20 Created: 2012-08-20 Last updated: 2012-08-20Bibliographically approved
2. Exposure to Chemical Agents in Swedish Aluminum Foundries and Aluminum Remelting Plants: A Comprehensive Survey
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exposure to Chemical Agents in Swedish Aluminum Foundries and Aluminum Remelting Plants: A Comprehensive Survey
2001 (English)In: Applied Occupational and Environmantal Hygiene, ISSN 1047-322X, Vol. 16, no 1, 66-77 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Secondary aluminum melting is mainly performed in sand, die, and static die-casting foundries and remelting plants. In seven Swedish foundries and two remelting plants, the exposure and area concentrations of total dust, metals, organic gases, and vapors were determined mainly as daily, timeweighted averages (TWAs). For most combinations of jobs and agents, the exposure levels were well below the current threshold limits suggested by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®). However, high exposure levels of mineral oil mist (geometric mean [GM] = 0.6 mg/m3) were observed in the die-casting process, with a maximum of 4 mg/m3. The findings were similar for total dust (GM = 5.1 mg/m3) and crystalline quartz (GM = 0.05 mg/m3) during molding operations in the sand foundries, maximum air concentrations being 31 mg/m3 and 0.22 mg/m3, respectively. Other agents which occasionally reached high exposure levels included furfuryl alcohol (up to 23 mg/m3 during furan binder use in sand foundries), aniline (up to 2.6 mg/m3 during thermal degradation of cold-box binders), and dimethylethylamine (up to 9 mg/m3) in the cold-box process used in static die-casting and sand foundries. The average aluminum exposure levels (GM = 0.043 mg/m3) were low in all foundries, individual values not exceeding 0.94 mg/m3. The exposures to metals were below 10 percent of their threshold limits. Similarly low levels were detected of polyaromatic hydrocarbons, phenol, formaldehyde, methylenebisphenyl diisocyanate, and phenylisocyanate. In the aluminum remelting plants, a few high exposure levels of total dust (GM = 1.4 mg/m3) up to 8 mg/m3 were detected in furnace workers. Aluminum and other metals were well below 10 percent of their threshold limits, with the exception of a few high concentrations of manganese, up to 0.14 mg/m3. The between-worker variability (GSDB) in the foundries for total dust, aluminum, and oil mist were on the order of 3?4. The heterogenicity of secondary aluminum melting requires assessment of a wide variety of chemical agents. For certain exposures, technical and medical monitoring programs are still needed.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-26102 (URN)10.1080/104732201456140 (DOI)10561 (Local ID)10561 (Archive number)10561 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2012-08-20Bibliographically approved
3. Hexachlorobenzene and octachlorostyrene in plasma of aluminium foundry workers using hexachloroethane for degassing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hexachlorobenzene and octachlorostyrene in plasma of aluminium foundry workers using hexachloroethane for degassing
1997 (English)In: Occupational and Environmental Medicine, ISSN 1351-0711, E-ISSN 1470-7926, Vol. 54, 613-618 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVES: To study the load of selected organochlorine compounds in the blood of aluminium foundry workers who use hexachloroethane as a degassing agent for aluminium and to measure some possible effects on internal organs.

METHODS: Plasma from nine male aluminium foundry workers with past experience of use of hexachloroethane and 18 controls (two controls per exposed case) matched for residence, sex, age, and socioeconomic status was analysed for hexachlorobenzene (HCB), (P-HCB), and octachlorostyrene (P-OCS) with low resolution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Serum samples from the same subjects were analysed for standard kidney, pancreas, and liver function variables. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) with the triplets retained, a non-parametric test, and linear regression were used for the analysis.

RESULTS: A fourfold increase of mean P-HCB was found among the exposed subjects compared with the controls (313.1 v 66.9 ng/g lipid; P < 0.01; (ANOVA model)). For P-OCS this difference was even larger (54.6 v 0.7 ng/g lipid; P < 0.01). Results were still significant (P < 0.05) with non-parametric testing. Within the exposed group there was a good correlation between the ln P-HCB (r = 0.80) and ln P-OCS (r = 0.91), respectively, with the cumulative number of years of exposure to hexachloroethane. No significant difference in kidney, pancreas, or liver function was found between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Aluminium degassing with hexachloroethane may increase the body burden of selected organochlorine compounds as reflected by HCB and OCS measurements. With the inherent limitations of this investigation no signs of subclinical organ toxicity were found.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80074 (URN)10.1136/oem.54.8.613 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-08-20 Created: 2012-08-20 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
4. Porphyrin Status in Aluminum Foundry Workers Exposed to Hexachlorobenzene and Octachlorostyrene
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Porphyrin Status in Aluminum Foundry Workers Exposed to Hexachlorobenzene and Octachlorostyrene
Show others...
1999 (English)In: Archives of Environmental Health: An International Journal, ISSN 0003-9896, Vol. 54, no 4, 248-253 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The possible interference of hexachlorobenzene and octachlorostyrene (i.e., thermal byproducts from hexachloroethane in aluminum degassing) with porphyrin metabolism was investigated in exposed workers. Urine specimens from 9 male aluminum foundry workers (i.e., smelters) at 6 different companies and from 18 controls—matched for sex, age, residence, and socioeconomic status—were analyzed for total porphyrins and porphyrin isomers. Workers exposed to hexachlorobenzene and octachlorostyrene had a statistically significant increase in urinary total porphyrins, compared with controls (mean ± standard deviation: 13.63 ± 11.13 μmol/mol creatinine and 6.24 ± 3.84 μmol/mol creatinine, respectively; p = .02). The authors attributed the results mainly to differences in excretion of coproporphyrins—notably coproporphyrin III. Erythrocyte uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase activity was similar in both groups. There was a high correlation between levels of hexachlorobenzene and octachlorostyrene, respectively, in plasma and urinary excretion of porphyrins; these findings, however, relied heavily on 1 subject for whom extreme values were obtained. The results indicated that occupational exposure to hexachlorobenzene and octachlorostyrene in aluminum degassing with hexachloroethane may affect porphyrin metabolism in a manner consistent with early secondary coproporphyrinuria—the first recognized step in the development of chronic hepatic porphyria. It was also noted that changes remained detectable some years after exposure ceased.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-26135 (URN)10.1080/00039899909602482 (DOI)10594 (Local ID)10594 (Archive number)10594 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
5. Cancer morbidity in workers at aluminum foundries and secondary aluminum smelters
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cancer morbidity in workers at aluminum foundries and secondary aluminum smelters
1997 (English)In: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, ISSN 0271-3586, E-ISSN 1097-0274, Vol. 32, no 5, 467-477 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In a Swedish cohort of workers (n = 6,454) from seven aluminum foundries and three secondary aluminum (scrap) smelters there was no overall excess risk of cancer among male or female workers less than 85 years of age (males: 325 observed cases, standardized incidence ratio (SIR) 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.91–1.13; females: 22 cases, SIR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.60–1.44). In male workers, however, significantly elevated risk estimates were observed for cancer of the lung (51 cases; SIR = 1.49, 95%CI = 1.11–1.96), anorectal cancer (33 cases; SIR 2.13, 95%CI = 1.47–2.99), and sinonasal cancer (4 cases; SIR = 4.70, 95%CI = 1.28–12.01). There was no increase of urinary bladder or liver cancer. Lung cancer risks were highest in workers with a short duration of employment (<5 years) suggesting determinants of risk related to socioeconomic factors rather than the occupational environment under study, but there were also indications of a lung cancer hazard from sand casting of aluminum for 10 years or more (SIR = 2.10, 95%CI = 1.01–3.87). The increase in anorectal cancer could not be etiologically related to occupational determinants of risk. Sand casting of aluminum aside, the cancer risk in secondary aluminum smelting seems to be lower than in primary aluminum smelting and in iron and steel founding, respectively.

Keyword
aluminum, anorectal cancer, bladder cancer, cancer epidemiology, foundry workers, hexachlorobenzene, hexachloroethane, liver cancer, lung cancer, organochlorine compounds, sinonasal cancer
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80075 (URN)10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199711)32:5<467::AID-AJIM6>3.0.CO;2-P (DOI)
Available from: 2012-08-20 Created: 2012-08-20 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
6. Exposure classification for epidemiologic purposes of total dust and crystalline quartz in Swedish aluminium foundries: application in a nested case-control study on lung cancer
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exposure classification for epidemiologic purposes of total dust and crystalline quartz in Swedish aluminium foundries: application in a nested case-control study on lung cancer
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In a recent cohort study in aluminium foundries and remelting plants an unexpectedly high risk of lung cancer was found in workers in sand foundries. On the basis of present and, historical measurement data, we developed a statistical model for exposure to total dust and crystalline quartz for different jobs and time periods. Cumulative dose estimates of total dust and crystalline quartz were calculated and used in a nested case-control study in the cohort.

From the cohort of foundry workers (n=4,435), 51 cases oflung cancer were identified. After exclusion of cases and controls with nonspecific job titles, 46 cases remained. The final analysis was performed on 31 cases and 233 controls with one year or more of employment. Measurement data for total dust and crystalline quartz had been previously collected in each company in an industrial hygiene survey, parallel to the cohort study. Historical measurement data from the 1960s and onwards were added, totalling, 207 total dust and 103 crystalline quartz exposure observations. Regression models, using the determinants of job title, timeperiod, type of foundry and size of production, were developed for assessing historical total dust and crystalline quartz air concentrations. These estimates were used to calculate individual cumulative exposure in the case-control study.

In the multiple linear regression analysis, the determinants explained much of the variations in dust level (r2=0.58). The explained variation in crystalline quartz was much lower (r2=0.13). The regression coefficients for the type of foundry, time-period, and size of production were statistically significant for total dust. The maximum predicted dust and quartz levels were 10 mg/m3 and 0.07 mg/m3, respectively. On the basis of the regression analysis, grouped data about the variables type of found1y, time-period and size of production were used in the final model to calculate cumulative dust exposures. However, the type of foundry was excluded as regards crystalline quartz. The calculated cumulative dust and quartz exposures averaged 23 mg/m3*year and 0.31mg/m3*year, respectively. The odds ratios, in the nested case-control study, showed no significant dose-response trends for both dust at1d ctystalline quartz: for exposure to dust, the odds ratios increased from 1 (reference) to 1.3 (95% CI 0.41-4.3), and to 2.2 (95% CI 0.73-6.5) by increasing cumulative exposures, as assessed in two different categories, and for exposure to quartz from I (reference) to 1.2 (95% Cl 0.37-3.9), and to 2.3 (95% CI 0.79-6.8).

Despite the moderate historical levels of total dust and crystalline quartz assessed for this cohort of aluminium foundry workers, based on a limited exposure data set, we found a tendency to a dose-response for lung cancer. Although data are limited, these findings give some support to the causative role of (quartz) dust in the previously observed high risk of lung cancer in this cohort.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80076 (URN)
Available from: 2012-08-20 Created: 2012-08-20 Last updated: 2012-08-20Bibliographically approved

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