Effects of agricultural work practices and pesticide use on occupational health of farmers

This study aimed to identify the associated health symptoms between high and low exposed groups to pesticide, and to come up with an intervention pesticide program for our farmers in the vegetable industry.
Survey questionnaires were used to look into pesticide exposures and work practices of 534 farmers in the largest eggplant producing province in the northern Philippines. Physical health assessment was conducted by medical doctors to look into the health status of farmers who ahve been using pesticides for the past years. Laboratory examination of blood was also done, including blood cholinesterase to dertermine organophosphate exposures.

Source: Leilanie Lu J. Occup. Environ. Med. 2014; 71(Suppl 1): A56-A57.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2014-102362.175

Adjusting to Work in the Heat

Why Acclimatization Matters
Acclimatization is important in keeping your workforce safe and well as temperatures rise. This natural adaptation to the heat takes time, and from a management perspective, it may require careful planning.

Source: http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2014/07/14/acclimatization/

Respiratory symptoms and lung function abnormalities related to work at a flavouring manufacturing facility

Objectives: To better understand respiratory symptoms and lung function in flavouring manufacturing workers.
Methods: We offered a questionnaire and lung function testing to the current workforce of a flavouring manufacturing facility that had transitioned away from diacetyl and towards substitutes in recent years. We examined symptoms, spirometric parameters and diffusing capacity measurements by exposure variables, including facility tenure and time spent daily in production areas. We used linear and logistic regression to develop final models adjusted for age and smoking status.
Results: A total of 367 (93%) current workers participated. Shortness of breath was twice as common in those with tenure ≥7 years (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.1 to 3.6). Other chest symptoms were associated with time spent daily in production. Participants who spent ≥1 h daily in production areas had twice the odds of any spirometric abnormality (OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.1 to 5.3) and three times the odds of low diffusing capacity (OR 2.8; 95% CI 0.9 to 9.4) than other participants. Mean spirometric parameters were significantly lower in those with tenure ≥7 years and those who spent ≥1 h daily in production. Mean diffusing capacity parameters were significantly lower in those with tenure ≥7 years. Differences in symptoms and lung function could not be explained by age, smoking status or employment at another flavouring plant.
Conclusions: Symptoms and lung function findings were consistent with undiagnosed or subclinical obliterative bronchiolitis and associated with workplace exposures. Further efforts to lower exposures to flavouring chemicals, including diacetyl substitutes, are warranted.

Source: Kristin J Cummings, Randy J Boylstein, Marcia L Stanton, Chris A Piacitelli, Nicole T Edwards, Ryan F LeBouf, Kathleen Kreiss. Occup Environ Med. 2014;71:549-554.   http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2013-101927  
 

Aide au repérage des nanomatériaux en entreprise

Cette brochure s'adresse à tous les préventeurs de terrain qui sont amenés à identifier des opérations potentiellement exposantes aux nanomatériaux en entreprise. Cette aide au repérage des nanomatériaux manufacturés manipulés en entreprise et à la prise en compte des risques associés vise plus précisément à renseigner les nanomatériaux qui sont fabriqués ou utilisés dans une dizaine de secteurs d'activité.
Le brochure est consitutée en 2 parties. La première dresse un état des connaissances sur les nanomatériaux : généralités (définitions, réglementation, toxicité, exposition professionnelle), repérage et identification des nanomatériaux, évaluation des risques et mesures de prevention. La seconde traite des secteurs concernés par l'utilisation de nanomatériaux. Cette partie se présente sous forme de fiches répertoriant par secteur d'activités les applications, les nanomatériaux concernés et les propriétés ou fonctionnalités recherchées. 8 secteurs sont couverts : Agroalimentaire, Construction, bâtiment et travaux publcs, Cosmétique, produit et équipement de soin et d'hygiène, Energie et environnement, Peinture, vernis et encre, Pharmacie et santé, Plasturgie et caoutchouc, Textile, habillement, papier et carton.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/produits/mediatheque/doc/publications.html?refINRS=ED%206174

Exposure to volatile organic compounds in healthcare settings

Objectives: To identify and summarise volatile organic compound (VOC) exposure profiles of healthcare occupations.
Methods: Personal (n=143) and mobile area (n=207) evacuated canisters were collected and analysed by a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer to assess exposures to 14 VOCs among 14 healthcare occupations in five hospitals. Participants were volunteers identified by their supervisors. Summary statistics were calculated by occupation. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to reduce the 14 analyte inputs to five orthogonal factors and identify occupations that were associated with these factors. Linear regressions were used to assess the association between personal and mobile area samples.
Results Exposure: profiles differed among occupations; ethanol had the highest geometric mean (GM) among nursing assistants (∼4900 and ∼1900 µg/m3, personal and area), and 2-propanol had the highest GM among medical equipment preparers (∼4600 and ∼2000 µg/m3, personal and area). The highest total personal VOC exposures were among nursing assistants (∼9200 µg/m3), licensed practical nurses (∼8700 µg/m3) and medical equipment preparers (∼7900 µg/m3). The influence of the PCA factors developed from personal exposure estimates varied by occupation, which enabled a comparative assessment of occupations. For example, factor 1, indicative of solvent use, was positively correlated with clinical laboratory and floor stripping/waxing occupations and tasks. Overall, a significant correlation was observed (r=0.88) between matched personal and mobile area samples, but varied considerably by analyte (r=0.23–0.64).
Conclusions: Healthcare workers are exposed to a variety of chemicals that vary with the activities and products used during activities. These VOC profiles are useful for estimating exposures for occupational hazard ranking for industrial hygienists as well as epidemiological studies.

Source: Ryan F LeBouf, M Abbas Virji, Rena Saito, Paul K Henneberger, Nancy Simcox, Aleksandr B Stefaniak. Occup Environ Med. 2014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2014-102080 
 

Exposure to chlorinated solvents and lung cancer

Results of the ICARE study
Objective: To investigate the role of occupational exposure to chlorinated solvents in lung cancer aetiology.
Methods: ICARE (Investigation of occupational and environmental CAuses of REspiratory cancers) is a French, multicentre, population-based, case–control study. Information on the lifelong work history of 2926 cases and 3555 controls was collected using standardised questionnaires. Occupational exposures were assessed using job-exposure matrices for five chlorinated solvents. Solvents were studied separately and in combinations. ORs were computed using unconditional logistic regression models adjusted for classic risk factors, including a history of cigarette smoking and exposure to asbestos. Adjustment for socioeconomic status (SES) was also made.
Results: After adjustment for exposure to asbestos, we observed a positive, statistically significant association with lung cancer for men and women exposed to a combination of perchloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene and dichloromethane (DCM). Further adjustment for SES slightly decreased this association. In contrast, no statistically significant associations were found for other solvent combinations.
Conclusions: These results suggest that exposure to PCE may constitute a risk factor for lung cancer, especially among women, who seem to have a higher prevalence of exposure than men.

Source: Francesca Mattei, Florence Guida, Mireille Matrat, Sylvie Cenée, Diane Cyr, Marie Sanchez, Loredana Radoi, Gwenn Menvielle, Fatima Jellouli, Matthieu Carton, Simona Bara, Emilie Marrer, Danièle Luce, Isabelle Stücker. Occup Environ Med. 2014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2014-102182 
 

Workplace Exposures and the National Action Plan for Infertility

Infertility is a significant health issue in the U.S. as well as globally.  In addition to the large health and fiscal impacts of infertility, the inability to conceive can be devastating to individuals or couples. Research suggest that between 12% and 18% of couples struggle with infertility,[1] which may be caused by a wide variety of factors including genetic abnormalities, aging, acute and chronic diseases, treatments for certain conditions, behavioral factors, and exposure to environmental, occupational, and infectious hazards. However, many questions about infertility remain unanswered.
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the National Public Health Action Plan for the Detection, Prevention and Management of Infertility. This plan was created in consultation with many governmental and nongovernmental partners.  NIOSH contributed to this Action Plan, specifically related to reducing exposures to occupational agents that can harm reproductive health and fertility in women and men.

Source: http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2014/07/16/infertility/

The usefulness of compensation statistics to detect heat-related health outcomes in a temperate climate

The experience of Québec
OBJECTIVES: To explore relationships between summer outdoor temperatures in Quebec (Canada) and occupational compensation statistics for heat-related illnesses.
METHOD: Daily compensation counts of heat-related illnesses (heat strain, heatstroke, loss of consciousness, etc.), occurring between May and September, were obtained from the workers' compensation board of Quebec for each health region between 1998 and 2010. Regional daily maximum outdoor temperatures were obtained from Environment Canada. Associations between daily compensation counts and temperature were estimated using negative binomial or Poisson regression models for each region and were adjusted for relative humidity and temporal trends. Pooled effect sizes for Quebec (all health regions combined) were obtained using a fixed effect model for meta-analysis.
RESULTS: In an average population of 3.7 million workers, 259 illnesses classified as heat-related were compensated between 1998 and 2010, giving an average annual rate of 0.11 case per 100 000 workers per summer month. During the study period, 63.0% of heat-related outcomes occurred on days with a maximum daily average temperature below 30(o)C. Occupations with the largest number of compensations were those of labourers (32%), firefighters (11%) and truck drivers (4%). The pooled incidence rate ratio (IRR) was 1.41 (95% CI 1.35-1.46) per 1(o)C increase in daily maximum temperature. Effects of barometric pressure and lag will be explored.
CONCLUSIONS: Heat-related illnesses do occur in temperate climates. Our results suggest that compensation statistics, albeit crude indicators of health effects, can be useful to identify industry sectors and occupations that would benefit from preventive interventions aimed at high risk workers.

Source: Labrèche F, Adam-Poupart A, Busque MA, Duguay P, Fournier M, Zayed J, Smargiassi A. Occup. Environ. Med. 2014; 71(Suppl 1): A40.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2014-102362.123
 

Maternal occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and small for gestational age offspring

Objectives: While some of the highest maternal exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) occur in the workplace, there is only one previous study of occupational PAH exposure and adverse pregnancy outcomes. We sought to extend this literature using interview data combined with detailed exposure assessment.
Methods: Data for 1997–2002 were analysed from mothers of infants without major birth defects in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, a large population-based case-control study in the USA. Maternal telephone interviews yielded information on jobs held in the month before conception through delivery. From 6252 eligible control mothers, 2803 completed the interview, had a job, met other selection criteria, and were included in the analysis. Two industrial hygienists independently assessed occupational exposure to PAHs from the interview and reviewed results with a third to reach consensus. Small for gestational age (SGA) was the only adverse pregnancy outcome with enough exposed cases to yield meaningful results. Logistic regression estimated crude and adjusted ORs.
Results: Of the 2803 mothers, 221 (7.9%) had infants who were SGA. Occupational PAH exposure was found for 17 (7.7%) of the mothers with SGA offspring and 102 (4.0%) of the remaining mothers. Almost half the jobs with exposure were related to food preparation and serving. After adjustment for maternal age, there was a significant association of occupational exposure with SGA (OR=2.2, 95% CI 1.3 to 3.8).
Conclusions: Maternal occupational exposure to PAHs was found to be associated with increased risk of SGA offspring.

Source: Peter H Langlois, Adrienne T Hoyt, Tania A Desrosiers, Philip J Lupo, Christina C Lawson, Martha A Waters, Carissa M Rocheleau, Gary M Shaw, Paul A Romitti, Suzanne M Gilboa, Sadia Malik, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Occup Environ Med. 2014;71:529-535  
http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2013-101833 
 

Mortality and Cancer Incidence in Aluminum Smelter Workers

A 5-Year Update
Objective: To determine the mortality and cancer incidence of aluminum smelter workers.
Method: The experience of 17,089 workers between 1950 and 2004 was studied.
Results: There were 25 deaths/47 female incident cancers and 6350 deaths/3984 male incident cancers. Mortality was significantly elevated for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Alzheimer disease (likely influenced by regional factors), all cancers, stomach, bladder, and lung cancers. Incidence was significantly elevated for bladder, lung, and laryngeal cancers. Digestive, lung, and bladder cancer mortality and lung, bladder, and buccal cancer incidence increased significantly with benzo(a)pyrene (B(a)P) exposure. Over time lung cancer risk has diminished but bladder cancer risk has not.
Conclusions: Bladder cancer incidence was not increased at B(a)P exposures below 40 μg/m3·yr. Occupational origins for other cancers occurring above expected rates but probably unrelated to B(a)P exposure cannot be excluded. In the prebake plant, nonsignificant increases of lung cancer were observed between 2000 and 2004.

Source: Gibbs, Graham W. PhD; Labrèche, France PhD; Busque, Marc-Antoine MSc; Duguay, Patrice MSc. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: July 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 7 - p 739–764
http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000000175

Work aggravated asthma

A review of reviews
Seven percent of the adult population have asthma, a condition commonly made worse by inhaling irritant exposures at work; termed work-aggravated asthma (WAA). A variety of factors that cause WAA have been identified by this review, including inhaled exposures, physical factors and behavioural issues.
WAA is common. A recent comprehensive review identified that more than 1 in 5 workers with asthma have this condition. There are, however, no GB based prevalence estimates.
WAA is an unpleasant condition. Workers complain of cough, wheeze, chest tightness and shortness of breath that is aggravated at work. These symptoms are likely to influence work absence, presenteeism and work efficiency. Their presence is also associated with significant adverse socio-economic impacts for workers and workplaces.
A variety of medical tests may be needed to help make a diagnosis of WAA, and distinguish this from occupational asthma. These tests are normally only available in specialised units with a particular interest in occupational asthma.
Very little GB data exists about interventions to reduce the associated burdens to the individual and the workplace. These include improving asthma treatments, worker education and training and assessing risks posed by various known hazards with particular relevance to asthma.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1005.htm

Exposition aux produits cosmétiques et risques pour la grossesse chez les professionnelles de la coiffure

Le secteur de la coiffure emploie de nombreuses femmes jeunes susceptibles d'être enceintes. Les conséquences des risques engendrés par les cosmétiques en cas de grossesse soulèvent de nombreuses questions. Après un bilan de l'état des connaissances issues des études épidémiologiques, cet article fait le point sur l'identification et l'évaluation des risques liés aux cosmétiques utilisés dans les salons de coiffure. Des conseils de prévention et des recommandations sont proposés pour protéger les coiffeuses et notamment les femmes enceintes.

Source: http://www.rst-sante-travail.fr/rst/pages-article/ArticleRST.html?ref=RST.TC%20147

Risques associés aux préparations bactériennes et enzymatiques pour le dégraissage et le nettoyage

En remplacement des dégraissants et nettoyants traditionnels, qu'ils soient à base de solvants ou de tensioactifs, on retrouve actuellement sur le marché des préparations à base de bactéries et d'enzymes pour le nettoyage de surfaces en milieux industriel et institutionnel. Des préparations enzymatiques sont également utilisées en milieu de soins pour le nettoyage d'instruments chirurgicaux et diagnostiques. Mises à part les fiches de données de sécurité et les fiches techniques fournies par les fabricants, les hygiénistes et les médecins du travail et de l'environnement, ainsi que les autres spécialistes du domaine de la santé et de la sécurité du travail ne possèdent que des données fragmentaires sur la composition de ces préparations. De plus, ces préparations sont souvent publicisées comme des produits idéaux, verts et atoxiques. La présente monographie vise à présenter de façon synthétique et critique les connaissances sur les aspects de la santé, de la sécurité, de l'environnement et techniques de ces produits biotechnologiques, de manière à guider les intervenants qui sont appelés à les évaluer, à les recommander ou à les utiliser. La méthode retenue consiste principalement en une revue de la littérature scientifique et technique. Cette recherche repose aussi sur la consultation d'intervenants représentant divers secteurs d'activité et sur l'observation de quelques milieux dans lesquels les travailleurs sont exposés à ce genre de préparations.

Source: http://www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-risques-preparations-bacteriennes-enzymatiques-r-829.html

Veille bibliographique sur la surveillance biologique de l'exposition aux produits chimiques au poste de travail

Une veille bibliographique est organisée depuis 2005 sur la surveillance biologique aux produits chimiques en milieu de travail (SBEPC MT). Elle a été mise en place par le réseau francophone multidisciplinaire, composé de l'INRS (France), l'IRSST (Québec) et l'UCL (Belgique). Cet article dresse le bilan de l'information récoltée et analysée, de 2009 à 2012, au travers de 435 articles sélectionnés. Plusieurs thèmes d'intérêt ou d'actualités font l'objet d'une analyse plus approfondie, dont notamment les pesticides, les hydrocarbures aromatiques, le benzène, le manganèse, la variabilité biologique, les dosages cutanés et frottis de surface, les dosages dans l'air expiré ou encore la spectrométrie de masse.

Source: http://www.rst-sante-travail.fr/rst/pages-article/ArticleRST.html?refINRS=RST.TF 218

Archaea des bioaérosols de fermes laitières, des poulaillers et des usines d’épuration des eaux usées

Leur rôle dans l'inflammation pulmonaire
Dans la présente étude, afin de définir l'exposition des travailleurs aux bioaérosols, nous avons utilisé des méthodes de biologie moléculaire pour décrire la biodiversité des bactéries et des archaea de l'air de plusieurs environnements de travail. Nous avons donc caractérisé le contenu en bactéries et en archaea des bioaérosols de fermes laitières, de poulaillers et d'établissements de traitement des eaux usées et nous avons déterminé l'exposition des travailleurs de fermes laitières à Saccharopolyspora rectivirgula, l'agent responsable du poumon du fermier. De plus, nous avons caractérisé l'immunogénicité de deux espèces d'archaea retrouvées dans l'air de différents milieux de travail, les Methanobrevibacter smithii (MBS) et les Methanosphaera stadtmanae (MSS), à l'aide d'un modèle murin d'exposition chronique des voies respiratoires.

Source: http://www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-archaea-epuration-eaux-usees-r-827.html

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