Mortality of Lead Smelter Workers: A Follow-Up Study With Exposure Assessment
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Mortality of Lead Smelter Workers: A Follow-Up Study With Exposure Assessment

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  • Alternative Title:
    Am J Ind Med
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    Background Lead exposure has been linked to impaired renal function and kidney failure. High lead exposures have been associated with increased mortality from certain cancers, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Methods We extended vital status follow-up on a cohort of 1,990 lead smelter workers by 25 years and computed standardized mortality ratios and rate ratios (RR) stratified by cumulative lead exposure. Results The update added 13,823 person-years at risk and 721 deaths. Increased risk of mortality was observed for the a priori outcomes of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease (including cerebrovascular disease), chronic kidney disease, and ALS. However, of these outcomes, only cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and chronic kidney diseases were associated with a positive exposure-response in RR analyses. Conclusions This study reaffirms the association of lead exposure with cardiovascular and kidney diseases; however, increased mortality observed for certain cancers is not likely to be due to lead exposure.
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