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Increased suicide risk among workers following toxic metal exposure at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant from 1952 to 2003: a cohort study.
Figgs-LW; Holsinger-H; Freitas-SJ; Brion-GM; Hornung-RW; Rice-CH; Tollerud-D
Int J Occup Environ Med 2011 Oct; 2(4):199-214
Background: Suicide is a problem worldwide and occupation is an important risk factor. In the last decade, 55 200 deaths in the US were attributed to occupational risk factors. Objective: To determine if toxic metal exposure was associated with suicide risk among Paducah gaseous diffusion plant (PGDP) workers. Methods: We assembled a cohort of 6 820 nuclear industry workers employed from 1952 to 2003. A job-specific exposure matrix (JEM) was used to determine metal exposure likelihood. Uranium exposure was also assessed by urinalysis. All suicide/self-injury International Classification for Disease (ICD) codes were used to identify suicides. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR), odds ratios (OR), and hazard ratios (HR) were used to estimate suicide risk. Results: PGDP suicide victims typically were younger white men. Within exposure likelihood categories, several suicide SMRs were typically elevated for several metals. Only beryllium exposure likelihood was associated with an increased HR. Uranium urine concentration was associated with an elevated suicide risk after stratification by urinalysis frequency. Conclusion: Suicide risk is associated with uranium exposure.
Risk-factors; Toxic-materials; Workers; Humans; Men; Women; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Exposure-assessment; Uranium-compounds; Urinalysis; Injuries; Mortality-rates; Mortality-data; Morbidity-rates; Author Keywords: Toxic; Environmental toxic substances; JEM; Exposure assessment; Uranium; Suicide; Atomic energy; Gaseous diffusion; Epidemiology; Proportional hazard
Larry W. Figgs, PhD, MPH, REHS/RS, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, 121 Washington Ave, Lexington, KY 40536-0003
Issue of Publication
International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
University of Louisville
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division