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| Topic: General hepatology

Occupational liver diseases

Summary

A variety of chemicals have been linked to occupational liver diseases, including several solvents and mixtures thereof, pesticides, and metals. Workplace exposures have been associated with virtually the entire spectrum of acute and chronic liver diseases. However, their prevalence is inadequately quantified and their epidemiology limited. Occupational liver diseases may result from high accidental or from prolonged lower level exposures. Whereas the former is uncommon and easily recognised, the latter are relatively more frequent but often overlooked because they may display normal values of conventional markers, have an insidious onset and be asymptomatic or be obfuscated and confounded by concurrent conditions. In addition, specific tests of toxicity are not available, histopathology may not be revealing and the assessment of internal dose of chemicals is usually not decisive. Given these circumstances, the diagnosis of these liver disorders is challenging, one of exclusion and often requires an interdisciplinary approach. These recommendations offer a classification of the type of liver injuries associated with occupational exposures – based in part on the criteria for drug-induced liver injury – a grading of their severity, and the diagnostic and preventive criteria for chemically induced occupational liver disease.

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