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Long-Term Metal PM2.5 Exposures Decrease Cardiac Acceleration and Deceleration Capacities in Welders

Umukoro, Peter E. MD, ScD; Fan, Tianteng MD, ScD; Zhang, Jinming MD, MPH; Cavallari, Jennifer M. ScD; Fang, Shona C. ScD; Lu, Chensheng PhD; Lin, Xihong PhD; Mittleman, Murray A. MD, PhD; Schmidt, Georg MD; Christiani, David C. MD, MS, MPH

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 3 - p 227–231
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000661

Objective: The aim of the study was to clarify whether long-term metal particulates affect cardiac acceleration capacity (AC), deceleration capacity (DC), or both.

Methods: We calculated chronic exposure index (CEI) for PM2.5 over the work life of 50 boilermakers and obtained their resting AC and DC. Linear regression was used to assess the associations between CEI PM2.5 exposure and each of AC and DC, controlling for age, acute effects of welding exposure, and diurnal variation.

Results: Mean (standard deviation) CEI for PM2.5 exposure was 1.6 (2.4) mg/m3-work years and ranged from 0.001 to 14.6 mg/m3-work years. In our fully adjusted models, a 1 mg/m3-work year increase in CEI for PM2.5 was associated with a decrease of 1.03 (95% confidence interval: 0.10, 1.96) ms resting AC, and a decrease of 0.67 (95% confidence interval: −0.14, 1.49) ms resting DC.

Conclusions: Long-term metal particulate exposures decrease cardiac accelerations and decelerations.

Department of Environmental Health (Dr Umukoro, Dr Fan, Dr Zhang, Dr Cavallari, Dr Fang, Dr Lu, Dr Christiani); Consulting (Dr Fan), Adheris Health; Department of Epidemiology (Dr Ittleman, Dr Christiani), Department of Biostatistics (Dr Lin), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Mass; Department of Community Medicine and Health Care (Dr Cavallari), University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington; Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit (Dr Mittleman), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass; Medical Department (Dr Schmidt), Munich University of Technology; DZHK (German Centre for Cardiovascular Research) Partner site Munich Heart Alliance (Dr Schmidt), Munich, Germany; and Pulmonary and Critical Care Unit (Dr Christiani), Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Address correspondence to: David C. Christiani, MD, MS, MPH, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Environmental, Health, Boston, MA 02115 (

This study was supported by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. PEU was supported by Leventis fellowship and JMC was supported by a grant from the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (FAMRI).

Authors Umukoro, Fan, Zhang, Cavallari, Fang, Lu, Lin, Mittleman, Schmidt, and Christiani have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine