Epidemiological study Saxonia

Project No. BIA 0050


completed 12/2003


The SAXONIA AG in Freiberg, Saxonia, a zinc recycling company in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), offers a good perspective on air cadmium exposure based on collected data. There are further detailed information about morbidity, nutrition and smoking behaviour of the workers. This offers an ideal base for an epidemiological study about effects of occupational exposure at SAXONIA. The aim of the projekt was to analyse the data for the relation of occupational exposures, especially cadmium and work-related diseases.


Data of occupational health examinations of about 600 workers of the SAXONIA AG were available. They were put into a structural database and a descriptive analysis was made. Also the exposure data, the corresponding measurement places and locations were digitalised. The medical data, the data of the cancer registry of the new federal states, the occupational health examination data, the exposure data and the data of the control group were linked, a plausibility check was done and all the data were analysed. The record linkage and the literature survey consumed some time effort.The results were to offer statements about a possible relationship between disease and cadmium.


The 27 cases reported on the cancer registry from individuals formerly exposed to cadmium concerned illnesses involving a variety of different tumours. The standardized mortality ratio (SMR) (95% CI) for cancer was 0.87 (0.6-1.3) in total. An increase in the SMR was not evident for any of the cancers studied: lung, kidney and prostate. Although evidence exists of an increased lung cancer risk with simultaneous arsenic exposure, the findings are not consistent. As the case numbers are still low and the follow-up period short, conclusive results are not anticipated for some years.

Further informations:

Last Update:

20 May 2005


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
  • Süddeutsche Metall-Berufsgenossenschaft
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz - BIA
  • Institut für Arbeits- und Sozialhygiene Stiftung (IAS)
  • Sächsisches Landesinstitut für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin
  • Süddeutsche Metall-Berufsgenossenschaft

metal production

Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Arbeitsbedingte Erkrankungen, Handhabung von Lasten


Epidemiologie, Exposition, Prävention

Description, key words:

cadmium, Saxonia, epidemiology, arsenic, lead, cancer, neoplasm, exposure, recycling, new federal states, German Democratic Republic (GDR), standardized mortality ratio (SMR)