Metals in the Lungs of Ontario Hardrock Miners
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The objective of this study was to determine the concentration of nickel, cadmium, and lead in the autopsied lungs of 29 hardrock miners. It involved chemical analysis of the lungs, where each lung was divided horizontally into 3 sections and analyzed by an atomic absorption spectrophotometer equipped with a graphite furnace. The grand mean levels of nickel, cadmium, and lead were found to be 1.84, 1.74, and 2.75 μg/g of dry tissue, respectively. The effect of smoking was also examined. The ratios using the mean values between smoker and nonsmoker for nickel, cadmium, and lead were found to be 0.7, 5.4, and 1.4, respectively. The level of cadmium in smokers was significantly higher than nonsmokers. This study provides an estimate of retained metals in the lungs of the Ontario hardrock miners as a result of occupational exposure to hardrock mining environment.
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