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Occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica and chronic non-malignant renal disease: systematic review and meta-analysis

Background: While occupational exposure to respirable silica is known to lead to lung disease, most notably silicosis, its association with chronic kidney disease is unclear.

Objectives: This review explores the association between occupational exposure to respirable silica and chronic non-malignant renal disease such as glomerulonephritis. The evidence has been collected and compiled. Possible sources of bias are thoroughly discussed.

Methods: Cohort studies with silica exposure and case-control studies of renal disease were searched in PubMed until January 2015. Two authors independently abstracted data; any disagreement was resolved by consulting a third reviewer. A meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the association to silica exposure.

Results: A total of 23 cohort and four case-control studies were included in the analysis. The meta-analysis of cohort studies yielded elevated overall SMRs for renal disease. Some studies, however, included dose-response analyses, most of which did not show a positive trend. The approaches and results of the case-control studies were very heterogeneous.

Conclusions: While the studies of cohorts exposed to silica found elevated SMRs for renal disease, no clear evidence of a dose–response relationship emerged. The elevated risk may be attributed to diagnostic and methodological issues. In order to permit a reliable estimation of a possible causal link, exposed cohorts should be monitored for renal disease, as the information from mortality studies is hardly reliable in this field.

This article is published in the Journal "International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health", Volume 90, Issue 7, pp. 555-574.

Bibliographic information

M. Möhner, A. Pohrt, J. Gellissen:
Occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica and chronic non-malignant renal disease: systematic review and meta-analysis. 
in: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Volume 90, Issue 7 2017. pages 555-574, Project number: F 2037, DOI: 10.1007/s00420-017-1219-x

download file "Occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica and chronic non-malignant renal disease: systematic review and meta-analysis" (PDF, 1 MB, Not barrier-free file)

Research Project

Project numberF 2037 StatusCompleted Project Relationship between work-related silicate exposure and the development of particular renal diseases (i. e. glomerulonephritis)

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