Risks for heart disease and lung cancer from passive smoking by workers in the catering industry.Toxicol Sci. 2006 Apr; 90(2):539-48.TS
Workers in the catering industry are at greater risk of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) when smoke-free workplace policies are not in force. We determined the exposure of catering workers to SHS in Hong Kong and their risk of death from heart disease and lung cancer. Nonsmoking catering workers were provided with screening at their workplaces and at a central clinic. Participants reported workplace, home, and leisure time exposure to SHS. Urinary cotinine was estimated by enzyme immunoassay. Catering facilities were classified into three types: nonsmoking, partially restricted smoking (with nonsmoking areas), and unrestricted smoking. Mean urinary cotinine levels ranged from 3.3 ng/ml in a control group of 16 university staff through 6.4 ng/ml (nonsmoking), 6.1 ng/ml (partially restricted), and 15.9 ng/ml (unrestricted smoking) in 104 workers who had no exposures outside of work. Workers in nonsmoking facilities had exposures to other smoking staff. We modeled workers' mortality risks using average cotinine levels, estimates of workplace respirable particulates, risk data for cancer and heart disease from cohort studies, and national (US) and regional (Hong Kong) mortality for heart disease and lung cancer. We estimated that deaths in the Hong Kong catering workforce of 200,000 occur at the rate of 150 per year for a 40-year working-lifetime exposure to SHS. When compared with the current outdoor air quality standards for particulates in Hong Kong, 30% of workers exceeded the 24-h and 98% exceeded the annual air quality objectives due to workplace SHS exposures.