Health of municipal sewage workers : Studies of cancer incidence, biomarkers of carcinogenicity and genotoxicity, and self reported symptoms

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The occupational exposures of sewage workers are complex and variable, and include a great variety of biological and chemical agents. Previous research has focused mostly on infections and various symptoms among sewage workers, e.g. abdominal and respiratory symptoms. At several sewage plants in Sweden, concern arose about occupational cancer, specifically cancer of the stomach, the kidney, and the lung. The aim of this study was to study the cancer incidence among municipal sewage workers, some exposures that might be connected with cancer risk, and self reported abdominal and respiratory symptoms.In a cohort of municipal sewage workers there was no increase in the overall incidence of cancer when compared with the general population. However, there was a slight increase in the incidence of prostate cancer, but not in the sites of original concern among the workers. Infection by the gastric carcinogen Helicobacter pylori (determined from the presence of IgG antibodies in serum against H pylori) was no more prevalent in sewage workers than in comparable referents. Neither were sewage workers more exposed to genotoxic agents than comparable referents, as measured by the alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (SCG) assay performed on peripheral lymphocytes.There was no increase in the three-month prevalence of abdominal symptoms when compared with other municipal workers. Specifically, there was no difference in prevalence of the common disorders dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome. Sewage workers reported adult bronchial asthma significantly more than the referents.

  This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.