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Am J Ind Med. 1993 Jun;23(6):873-81.

Fiberglass or silica exposure and increased nephritis or ESRD (end-stage renal disease).

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Evaluation Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.


The U.S. multiplant cohort mortality study of workers producing manufactured mineral fibers is finding increasing mortality from nephritis and/or nephrosis. We examine other data sets to see if similar effects can be identified. In a case-referent study among Michigan patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), men with exposures to silica have elevated odds ratio for ESRD. In a California occupational mortality study based on 1979-81 data, a number of the construction trades, farmers, and farm laborers show excess mortality for renal disease. The highest mortality ratio is found in the category including insulation workers. This ratio remains significantly elevated when adjusted for estimated exposures to smoking, alcohol, and for socio-economic status. California mortality data from 20 years earlier (1959-61) fail to show much excess renal disease in construction workers, but do for farmers. In Singapore, granite workers with a long-term exposure to silica have excess excretion of albumin and similar compounds compared to less exposed controls, leading to the presumption that silica exposure can lead to silica nephrotoxicity. Balkan nephropathy has been associated with consumption of well water high in silica. In the Negev of Israel, dust storms are a vehicle for increasing respiratory uptake of silica. The Beduin, thought to be a population with maximal exposures, have higher rates of ESRD than do Jews in the age groups over 60 years. Although high blood concentrations of silica are found in persons with renal failure, the close association with elevated creatinine has been interpreted as evidence that the buildup of silica is due to renal failure, rather than vice-versa.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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