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Ind Health. 2015;53(5):465-79. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2015-0006. Epub 2015 Jul 23.

A cross-sectional analysis of dioxins and health effects in municipal and private waste incinerator workers in Japan.

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Occupational Health Research and Development Center, Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association, Japan.


This cross-sectional study was intended to examine health effects of 678 male workers employed during an 8-yr period from 2000 to 2007 at 36 municipal and private waste incineration plants in Japan. Blood samples were obtained for analysis of concentrations of dioxins including coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (coplanar PCBs) and evaluation of health effects. Health effects including diabetes were surveyed via a physician's interview or clinical data from blood samples. There was a certain difference in serum concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) between the incinerator workers and Japanese general population, although no differences in the concentrations of total dioxins or polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) were found between the two groups. A few positive correlations between serum levels of PCDDs and PCDFs and the results of laboratory and physiological tests were found, but coplanar PCBs showed significant relations with 14 parameters of the tests. The background serum levels of PCDDs, PCDFs and total dioxins were significantly associated with the prevalence of diabetes. No essential differences in serum concentrations of total dioxins and in prevalence of diabetes between our subjects and the general population suggested that the incinerator workers were marginally exposed to dioxins in the workplace without any recognizable adverse health effects.

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