IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 15720: The Risk Factors for Radiolucent Nephrolithiasis among Workers in High-Temperature Workplaces in the Steel Industry (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Workers in high-temperature workplaces with inadequate water supply may exhibit symptoms of chronic dehydration and have increased risk of nephrolithiasis. The aim of this study was to investigate the risk of radiolucent stone formation among workers in a high-temperature workplace and the related risk factors associated with the condition. We collected data from 1681 workers in a steel factory in Southern Taiwan who underwent regular health examinations. Radiolucent stones were defined as positive findings on ultrasound with negative radiographic images. The prevalences of nephrolithiasis and radiolucent stones in this study were 12.0% and 5.1%, respectively. Heat exposure and age were two major risk factors influencing the probability of radiolucent stones. We combined the age and heat exposure into four groups (over and under 35 years of age with and without heat exposure) in a logistic regression. For workers younger than 35 years, the odds ratio of radiolucent stones was 2.695 (95% confidence interval: 1.201–6.049) in workers with heat exposure compared to workers without. Our investigation further demonstrated that heat exposure was a main risk factor for radiolucent stone formation. In conclusion, our identification of heat exposure as an independent factor for radiolucent stone development in steel workers highlights the need for attention to be paid to those working in similar environments.