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Korean J Occup Environ Med. 2004 Mar;16(1):25-36. Korean. Original Article.
Lee K , Lim HS , Lee JH .
Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Dongguk University, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Dongguk University, Korea.

OBJECTIVE: Recently, chronic renal failure has become a major public health problem all around the world, and the number of patients in Korea affected by this disease has sharply increased since the 1980's. Between 3% and 50% of all cases of chronic renal failure may be induced by toxic agents. The purpose of our study was to investigate the occupational hazards associated with chronic renal failure, in order to use the findings as a reference for further epidemiologic studies. METHODS: The author conducted a questionnaire and reviewed the medical records of chronic renal failure patients (161 people out of 238) in Gyeongju-si and Pohang-si from March 2 to 31, 2003. Those cases of chronic renal failure which were related to work were classified as either 'probable case' if they were of unknown origin or 'suspected case' if they were of known origin and were related to hypertension or diabetes mellitus. RESULTS: The study subjects consisted of 92 males (57.1%) and 69 females (42.9%). The causalities listed in the medical records were diabetes mellitus in 55 cases (40.4%), hypertension in 28 cases (20.6%), chronic glomerulonephritis in 14 cases (10.3%), and other diseases. There were 10 cases (6.2%) that were believed to be related to the patients' occupations. The hazards that these 10 patients had previously been exposed to were silica, organic solvents, tin, copper, lead, cadmium, and other hazards. CONCLUSIONS: Through this study, 10 cases that were reportedly related to occupational chronic renal failure were discovered. Further studies such as a case-control study of occupational risk factors related to chronic renal failure will be needed.

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