Background Work-related exposure to silica is a health hazard worldwide causing i.e. silicosis. Some studies have also presented elevated cardiovascular disease mortality in relation to silica exposure. However, few studies focus on these diagnoses and there is lack of studies accessing morbidity. The aim of this study is to examine the morbidity and mortality of different cardiovascular diseases among Swedish silica-exposed foundry workers.
Methods Measurement database, consisting of historical and present measurements (1968–2006) of respirable silica exposure, are matched against job categories, the different foundries and 4 time periods (1968–1979, 1980–1989, 1990–1999, 2000–2006) using mixed model. The cohort morbidity and mortality data were matched against registries from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. SPSS and STATA were used for statistical analysis, with STATA stratified for age, gender and year.
Results Cardiovascular disease (SMR 141, 95% CI 126–157) and stroke mortality (SMR 161, 95% CI 118–214) showed significant elevation. Myocardial infarction showed statistically significant reduction (SMR 73, 95% CI 60–89). Results of morbidity show significant elevation of stroke (SIR 134, 95% CI 120–150). Mean age at the time of first morbidity is 60–64 years.
Conclusions This study focused on the relation between silica exposure and cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. Our results suggest a relation with statistically significant SMRs and SIRs, and morbidity in stroke at a younger age than the general population. Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death worldwide, and we find a need for further examination with more extensive mapping of confounders and medical history.