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Epidemiological challenges for the 1990's: exposure assessment, exposure-age interaction, and subclinical health outcomes - an illustrative example - the delay effects of mercury exposure.

Fine LJ; Kallenbach L; Echeverria D; Albers JW; Langolf GD; Wolfe RA
The 7th UOEH International Symposium - Occupational Neuropathy, October 22-23, 1987, University of Occupational Environmental Health, Japan 1988 Mar; 10:17-32
Epidemiological challenges for the 1990s were discussed. Occupationally related neuropathies were emphasized. Past studies on occupational neuropathies were summarized. A study on methylbutylketone (591786) (MBK) induced peripheral neuropathies in 1973 and subsequent studies that demonstrated that n-hexane (110543) and MBK neuropathies had a common metabolic pathway were cited as examples of past epidemiological successes. Issues that future epidemiological studies must address were discussed. These include obtaining better estimates of peak and lifetime exposure, addressing the delayed effects of exposure, and understanding the long term health significance of subclinical adverse health outcomes. Conducting an epidemiological exposure assessment was discussed. Steps in performing an epidemiological exposure assessment were described. These include: identifying target tissues, routes of entry, and agents and modes of exposure; developing a toxicokinetic model for the agent and target tissue, and a quantitative pharmacodynamic model of the effects caused by the agent in the target tissue; collecting exposure data; estimating tissue concentrations from the models; and analyzing the data. A recently completed study of the long term neurological effects of exposure to mercury (7439976) which illustrated some of the steps of the procedure was discussed. The study involved analyzing over 7000 urine samples from 247 workers employed in a defense related industry who were exposed to mercury vapor between 1953 and 1963. Each subject was given a medical examination that included a neurobehavioral test battery an a neurological examination. The neurological examination involved 44 measures of health outcome. The most highly correlated predictor of neuropathy was an interaction between age and height of the subject and peak urine mercury concentration; the correlation coefficient was 0.25. The authors note that the mercury study demonstrates the need for a long term followup after exposure has ended.
Epidemiology; Organic-solvents; Mercury-poisoning; Neurotoxic-effects; Industrial-hygiene; Biological-monitoring; Urinalysis; Age-factors; Occupational-exposure
591-78-6; 110-54-3; 7439-97-6
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The 7th UOEH International Symposium - Occupational Neuropathy, October 22-23, 1987, University of Occupational Environmental Health, Japan
Page last reviewed: February 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division