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Title: Chronic and acute effects of coal tar pitch exposure and cardiopulmonary mortality among aluminum smelter workers.
Authors: Friesen MC,  Demers PA,  Spinelli JJ,  Eisen EA,  Lorenzi MF,  Le ND
Journal: Am J Epidemiol
Date: 2010 Oct 1
Branches: OEEB
PubMed ID: 20702507
PMC ID: PMC2984260
Abstract: Air pollution causes several adverse cardiovascular and respiratory effects. In occupational studies, where levels of particulate matter and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are higher, the evidence is inconsistent. The effects of acute and chronic PAH exposure on cardiopulmonary mortality were examined within a Kitimat, Canada, aluminum smelter cohort (n = 7,026) linked to a national mortality database (1957-1999). No standardized mortality ratio was significantly elevated compared with the province's population. Smoking-adjusted internal comparisons were conducted using Cox regression for male subjects (n = 6,423). Ischemic heart disease (IHD) mortality (n = 281) was associated with cumulative benzo[a]pyrene (B(a)P) exposure (hazard ratio = 1.62, 95% confidence interval: 1.06, 2.46) in the highest category. A monotonic but nonsignificant trend was observed with chronic B(a)P exposure and acute myocardial infarction (n = 184). When follow-up was restricted to active employment, the hazard ratio for IHD was 2.39 (95% confidence interval: 0.95, 6.05) in the highest cumulative B(a)P category. The stronger associations observed during employment suggest that risk may not persist after exposure cessation. No associations with recent or current exposure were observed. IHD was associated with chronic (but not current) PAH exposure in a high-exposure occupational setting. Given the widespread workplace exposure to PAHs and heart disease's high prevalence, even modest associations produce a high burden.