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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008;71(13-14):859-65. doi: 10.1080/15287390801987972.

A study on lung cancer mortality related to radon, quartz, and arsenic exposures in German uranium miners.

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BGFA - Research Institute of Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Bochum, Germany.


Between 1946 and 1990 uranium mining was undertaken on a large scale in East Germany. This study evaluates the proportional lung cancer risk of German uranium miners from radon, quartz, and arsenic exposure during mining operations at the WISMUT Corporation. The database of the WISMUT tissue repository and a comprehensive job-exposure matrix were used to compare exposure levels of lung cancer cases with deaths from diseases of the circulatory system for risk analysis. In addition, the ratio of lung cancer cases was compared to cases from diseases of the circulatory system to the corresponding ratio in the general population. The proportional lung cancer mortality of German uranium miners was 2.9-fold higher than in the general population of East Germany. Cumulative radon, quartz, and arsenic exposure were determined as risk factors for lung cancer among German uranium miners, where silicosis modified the risk of cumulative radon and quartz exposure. Silicotics were exposed to higher levels of quartz, radon, and arsenic than nonsilicotics. Because selection of the study population was based on a tissue repository, the results need to be interpreted with caution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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