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Park D.-U.,Korea University | Kim D.-S.,Environmental Health Research Division | Yu S.-D.,Environmental Health Research Division | Lee K.-M.,Occupational Lung Diseases Institute | And 12 more authors.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2014

We analyzed national data on blood lead levels (BLL) and blood cadmium levels (BCL) in residents living near 38 abandoned metal mining areas (n = 5,682, 18-96 years old) in Korea that were collected by the first Health Effect Surveillance for Residents in Abandoned Metal mines (HESRAM) from 2008 to 2011. The geometric mean BCL and BLL were 1.60 μg/L (95 % CI = 1.57-1.62 μg/L) and 2.87 μg/dL (95 % CI = 2.84-2.90 μg/dL), respectively, notably higher than levels in the general population in Korea and other countries. We found significantly higher BLL and BCL levels in people living within 2 km of an abandoned metal mine (n = 3,165, BCL = 1.87 μg/L, BLL = 2.91 μg/dL) compared to people living more than 2 km away (n = 2,517, BCL = 1.31 μg/L, BLL = 2.82 μg/dL; P < 0.0001) and to the general population values reported in the literature. © 2014 Springer International Publishing. Source


Lee H.,University of Ulsan | Kim Y.,University of Ulsan | Sim C.-S.,University of Ulsan | Ham J.-O.,Soonchunhyang University | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2014

Introduction: We herein used data from the Korean National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (KNHANES) 2008-2012 to examine the associations between blood mercury levels and subclinical changes of liver function in a representative sample of the adult Korean population. Methods: This study was based on data obtained from KNHANES, in which a rolling sampling design was used to perform a complex, stratified, multistage probability cluster survey of a representative sample of the non-institutionalized civilian population in South Korea. The associations between subclinical hepatic changes and blood mercury levels were assessed after adjustment for various demographic and lifestyle factors. Results: Multivariate linear regression analyses revealed that each doubling of blood mercury increased serum aspartate transaminase (AST) by 0.676. U/L and serum alanine transaminase (ALT) by 1.067. U/L. The mean differences (95% CI) in serum AST and ALT between the lowest and highest quartiles were statistically significant at 1.249 (0.263-2.235). U/L and 2.248 (0.648-3.848), respectively. Logistic regression analysis showed that the odd ratios for having serum AST and ALT levels above the median were statistically significant in both the models according to the increase of blood mercury. The risks of having serum AST and ALT levels higher than the median among subjects in 4th quartile of blood mercury were 1.524 and 1.947, respectively. Discussion: The present findings show that subclinical changes of liver function are associated with blood mercury levels. This is the first study to show an association between blood mercury levels and mild liver dysfunction, as a possible proxy measure of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), in Asian population. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source


Lee B.-K.,Korean Industrial Health Association | Kim Y.,University of Ulsan
Safety and Health at Work | Year: 2014

The mechanisms by which iron is absorbed are similar to those of divalent metals, particularly manganese, lead, and cadmium. These metals, however, show different toxicokinetics in relation to menarche or menopause, although their interaction with iron is the same. This review focuses on the kinetics of these three toxic metals (manganese, lead, and cadmium) in relation to menarche, pregnancy, and menopause. The iron-manganese interaction is the major factor determining sex-specific differences in blood manganese levels throughout the whole life cycle. The effects of estrogen overshadow the association between iron deficiency and increased blood lead concentrations, explaining why women, despite having lower ferritin concentrations, have lower blood lead concentrations than men. Iron deficiency is associated with elevated cadmium levels in premenopausal women, but not in postmenopausal women or men; these findings indicate that sex-specific differences in cadmium levels at older ages are not due to iron-cadmium interactions, and that further studies are required to identify the source of these differences. In summary, the potential causes of sex-specific differences in the blood levels of manganese, lead, and cadmium differ from each other, although all these three metals are associated with iron deficiency. Therefore, other factors such as estrogen effects, or absorption rate as well as iron deficiency, should be considered when addressing environmental exposure to toxic metals and sex-specific differences in the blood levels of these metals. © 2014, Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute. Published by Elsevier. All rights reserved. Source


Choi K.-H.,Hallym University | Lim M.-H.,Dankook University | Ha M.,Dankook University | Sohn J.N.,Hanseo University | And 4 more authors.
Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness | Year: 2015

Objective Psychological health is an important issue after disasters. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of psychological symptoms among 993 residents of Taean District in South Korea after the Hebei Spirit oil spill and to examine determinants of vulnerability in residents' psychological symptoms. Methods Symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS), depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety were assessed by questionnaires, and the responses were analyzed by using the survey analysis considering the sampling frame. Results Among the study subjects, the symptom prevalences of PTS, depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety were 19.5%, 22.0%, 2.3%, and 4.2%, respectively, and symptoms were higher in people who were female, were older, were less educated, and had lower family income. People with fishery or related occupations compared to those with unrelated livelihoods and people residing in the vicinity of the oil band in the contaminated coastline showed additively increased symptom risks of PTS. Risk of suicidal ideation was predominantly increased in people with fishery or related occupations compared with those with unrelated livelihoods. Conclusions Social supports, including compensation for income loss and community mental health programs, and longer follow-up studies are needed for residents in the communities affected by the Hebei Spirit oil spill. Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2015. Source


Kim S.H.,University of Ulsan | Kim Y.,University of Ulsan | Kim N.-S.,Soonchunhyang University | Lee B.-K.,Korean Industrial Health Association
Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology | Year: 2014

Introduction: Gender differences in blood cadmium concentrations and the effect of iron deficiency on blood cadmium levels were analyzed in a representative sample of Koreans assessed in the Korean National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (KNHANES) 2008-2011. Methods: A rolling sampling design was used to perform a complex, stratified, multistage probability cluster survey of a representative sample of the non-institutionalized civilian population in South Korea. Serum ferritin was categorized as low (<15.0. μg/L), low normal (15.0-<30.0. μg/L for females and 15.0-<50.0. μg/L for males), and normal (≥30.0. μg/L for females and ≥50.0. μg/L for males), and its association with blood cadmium levels was assessed after adjustment for various demographic and lifestyle factors. Results: The geometric mean (GM) of the blood cadmium level was significantly higher in females than in males, and significantly higher in older individuals for both genders. After controlling for covariates, multiple regression analysis with interaction terms showed that blood cadmium was correlated with serum ferritin levels only in pre-menopausal females. Discussion: Iron deficiency is associated with blood cadmium levels in a representative sample of pre-menopausal females, as evaluated in KNHANES. Gender differences in blood cadmium concentration may not be due solely to an iron deficiency-associated increase in blood cadmium. © 2014 Elsevier GmbH. Source

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