Elevation of Circulating Th17/Th22 Cells Exposed to Low-Level Formaldehyde and Its Relevance to Formaldehyde-Induced Occupational Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of formaldehyde exposure on Th17 and Th22 cells and its relevance to human occupational allergic contact dermatitis (OACD).
Methods: Circulating IL17-/IL22-secreting cells and serum IL17/IL22 levels in formaldehyde-exposed workers at Occupational Exposure Limit and nonexposed controls were assessed.
Results: The IL17+ and IL22+ cell population were detected in both CD3+CD8- and CD3+CD8+ cells. The percentages of circulating IL17+ and IL22+ T cells in the workers with and without ACD history were all elevated, which were more remarkable in the ones with ACD history. Serum levels of IL17 and IL22 between the workers and controls were not significantly different.
Conclusions: Low-level formaldehyde exposure may increase circulating IL17-/IL22-producing T cells (CD8- and CD8+), possibly involved in the development of human OACD. But it may not alter serum levels of IL17/IL22 before the appearance of OACD symptoms.

Source: Mai, W., Liu, X., Su, G., Zhou, W., Wen, Z., & Lu, D. (2017). Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59(9), 817-821.

Workplace exposure and release of ultrafine particles during atmospheric plasma spraying in the ceramic industry

Atmospheric plasma spraying (APS) is a frequently used technique to produce enhanced-property coatings for different materials in the ceramic industry. This work aimed to characterise and quantify the impact of APS on workplace exposure to airborne particles, with a focus on ultrafine particles (UFPs, < 100 nm) and nanoparticles (< 50 nm). Particle number, mass concentrations, alveolar lung deposited surface area concentration, and size distributions, in the range 10 nm–20 μm were simultaneously monitored at the emission source, in the potential worker breathing zone, and in outdoor air. Different input materials (known as feedstock) were tested: (a) micron-sized powders, and (b) suspensions containing submicron- or nano-sized particles. Results evidenced significantly high UFP concentrations (up to 3.3 × 106/cm3) inside the spraying chamber, which impacted exposure concentrations in the worker area outside the spraying chamber (up to 8.3 × 105/cm3). Environmental release of UFPs was also detected (3.9 × 105/cm3, outside the exhaust tube). Engineered nanoparticle (ENP) release to workplace air was also evidenced by TEM microscopy. UFP emissions were detected during the application of both micron-sized powder and suspensions containing submicron- or nano-sized particles, thus suggesting that emissions were process- (and not material-) dependent. An effective risk prevention protocol was implemented, which resulted in a reduction of UFP exposure in the worker area. These findings demonstrate the potential risk of occupational exposure to UFPs during atmospheric plasma spraying, and raise the need for further research on UFP formation mechanisms in high-energy industrial processes.

Source: Viana, M., Fonseca, A. S., Querol, X., López-Lilao, A., Carpio, P., Salmatonidis, A., & Monfort, E. (2017). Science of The Total Environment.

Base de données EFICATT

La base de données EFICATT "Exposition fortuite à un agent infectieux et conduite à tenir en milieu de travail » est un outil créé à l'initiative du département Etudes et assistance médicales de l'INRS, en collaboration avec le GERES (Groupe d'étude sur le risque d'exposition des soignants aux agents infectieux). 
Cet outil, destiné aux professionnels de santé, en particulier aux médecins du travail, leur apporte une aide lorsqu'ils sont confrontés à une situation à risque de transmission d'une maladie infectieuse. EFICATT met en effet à disposition les éléments utiles à l'évaluation du risque, ce qui permet de définir une conduite à tenir immédiate puis de mettre en place les actions et le suivi médical adaptés.
Chaque fiche est élaborée par des experts sollicités par un Comité scientifique multidisciplinaire selon un programme (nouvelles fiches et actualisations) validé et coordonné par le Comité de rédaction.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/publications/bdd/eficatt.html

Challenges on the toxicological predictions of engineered nanoparticles

The perceived enormous potential of nanotechnology in contributing to sustainable innovation has led to the growth of investments into new industrial applications and consumer products. However, the lack of tools that are needed to generate early knowledge about the potential adverse effects, combined with the uncertainties regarding the health and safety risks of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs), are a potential threat to the acceptability by society of the nanotechnology innovations, due to the rising societal concerns that are based on generic worries. In order to tackle these issues, it has been necessary to adopt a more proactive approach into nanotechnology safety assessments. Multiple projects have been initiated around the world in order to understand how ENPs interact with living organisms, but the validation of most of the emerging knowledge may take years. This is while robust risk assessment results are urgently needed, in order to support timely regulatory decisions and risk management actions. The goal of this paper has been to review the present knowledge on the physicochemical characteristics of ENPs, focusing on titanium dioxide (TiO2), gold (Au), copper oxide (CuO), and zinc oxide (ZnO), as well as on their biological interactions. In addition, the paper has been aimed at the identification of the main challenges on the current toxicological characterisation of these ENPs. Focus will also be given in this article to those ENPs that have been described by the Consumer Product Inventory as having prevalent nanomaterials present in consumer products, but also, with those having therapeutic and diagnostic applications, due to their physical (ex: confined plasmon resonances) and biological (biocompatibility and antimicrobial) properties.

Source: Ribeiro, A. R., Leite, P. E., Falagan-Lotsch, P., Benetti, F., Micheletti, C., Budtz, H. C., ... & Hristozov, D. (2017). NanoImpact.

Portrait des zoonoses priorisées par l’Observatoire multipartite québécois sur les zoonoses et l’adaptation aux changements climatiques en 2015

Au Québec comme dans le monde, les maladies transmises entre les animaux et les humains (zoonoses), qui représentent environ 60 % des maladies transmissibles à l'humain, sont en émergence. La dynamique complexe des zoonoses peut être influencée par les changements climatiques. Pour répondre à cette complexité, l'Observatoire multipartite québécois sur les zoonoses et l'adaptation aux changements climatiques a initié en 2015 une démarche de priorisation des zoonoses dans le contexte des changements climatiques. Cette démarche a permis de dresser un portrait des zoonoses qui servira de base pour documenter l'évolution de leur situation au Québec, dans un effort de voir venir les problématiques. La documentation des zoonoses a permis également de mieux identifier les enjeux et les manques de connaissances spécifiques aux zoonoses priorisées, servant ainsi d'outil pour orienter et optimiser les activités de recherche, de surveillance, de prévention et de contrôle de ces zoonoses. Douze zoonoses ont été priorisées : le botulisme d'origine alimentaire au Nunavik, la campylobactériose, la cryptosporidiose, l'encéphalite équine de l'Est, les Escherichia coli vérocytotoxinogènes, la fièvre Q, la giardiase, l'influenza aviaire et porcin, la maladie de Lyme, la rage, la salmonellose et le virus du Nil Occidental.

Source: https://www.inspq.qc.ca/publications/2290

Workplace Measurements of Ultrafine Particles

A Literature Review
Workers are exposed to ultrafine particles (UFP) in a number of occupations. In order to summarize the current knowledge regarding occupational exposure to UFP (excluding engineered nanoparticles), we gathered information on UFP concentrations from published research articles. The aim of our study was to create a basis for future epidemiological studies that treat UFP as an exposure factor. The literature search found 72 publications regarding UFP measurements in work environments. These articles covered 314 measurement results and tabled concentrations. Mean concentrations were compared to typical urban UFP concentration level, which was considered non-occupational background concentration. Mean concentrations higher than the typical urban UFP concentration were reported in 240 workplace measurements. The results showed that workers' exposure to UFP may be significantly higher than their non-occupational exposure to background concentration alone. Mean concentrations of over 100 times the typical urban UFP concentration were reported in welding and metal industry. However, according to the results of the review, measurements of the UFP in work environments are, to date, too limited and reported too heterogeneous to allow us to draw general conclusions about workers' exposure. Harmonization of measurement strategies is essential if we are to generate more reliable and comparable data in the future.

Source: Viitanen, A. K., Uuksulainen, S., Koivisto, A. J., Hämeri, K., & Kauppinen, T. (2017). Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 61(7), 749-758.

NF X46-020 - Repérage amiante

Repérage des matériaux et produits contenant de l'amiante dans les immeubles bâtis - Mission et méthodologie
Le présent document a pour objet de définir le contenu, la méthodologie et les modalités de réalisation des missions suivantes de repérage d'amiante dans les immeubles bâtis : A) repérage avant démolition ; B) repérage avant réalisation de travaux ; C) repérage avant-vente en vue du constat défini par le Code de la Santé Publique ; D) repérage en vue de compléter ou de constituer les dossiers techniques amiante et dossiers amiante parties privatives.

Source: https://www.boutique.afnor.org/norme/nf-x46-020/reperage-amiante-reperage-des-materiaux-et-produits-contenant-de-l-amiante-dans-les-immeubles-batis-mission-et-methodologie/article/867769/fa186482

Investigation of the occupational health and safety conditions in Hellenic solid waste management facilities and assessment of the in-situ hazard level

Due to tenuous working conditions and working accidents in the past, sufficient safety measures for the personnel in certain solid waste management facilities are deemed a necessity. Besides the fact that such facilities are equipped with heavy machinery associated with safety risks, the working environment poses additional health risks to the personnel, due to their exposure to various waste-derived emissions. Therefore, it is required to establish and preserve the safety and hygienic conditions but also to equip and train their personnel during all waste treatment and management stages. Presented in this work are the results of a field research which aimed to evaluate the health and safety conditions in operating Hellenic Solid Waste Management facilities. For the performed data mining, structured questionnaires were used and interviews with facility Safety Officers and workers were held. Facilities included sanitary landfills, recycling plants, transfer stations, mechanical-biological treatment plants and a HealthCare Waste incinerator. Major outcome was the overall evaluation of Occupational Health and Safety measures of the facilities (material Recovery and composting facilities are those with the higher hazard level), as well as the evaluation of high-risk parameters (“dust” and “litter, animals and insects in the perimeter” are found to constitute the major health hazards for the facilities' personnel). The limitation of the latter parameters and the adoption of measures towards it by decision makers or facility managers/stakeholders will lead in best-practice practical guidelines.

Source: Moussiopoulos, N. (2017). Safety Science, 96, 192-197.

Occupational exposures to solvents and metals are associated with fixed airflow obstruction

Our study is the first to investigate the associations between exposures to solvents and metals using lifetime work history calendars and fixed airflow obstruction (AO). We have shown that increasing cumulative exposure-unit years to chlorinated solvents is associated with fixed AO. We found that women were at increased risk of fixed AO with increasing cumulative exposed-unit-years to chlorinated solvents but not men.

Source: Alif SM, Dharmage SC, Benke G, Dennekamp M, Burgess JL, Perret, Lodge CJ, Morrison S, Johns DP?, Giles GG, Gurrin LC, Thomas PS, Hopper JL, Wood-Baker R, Thompson BR, Feather IH, Vermeulen R, Kromhout H, Walters EH, Abramson MJ, Matheson MC. (2017). Scand J Work Environ Health.

Evaluation of high blood pressure and obesity among US coal miners participating in the Enhanced Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program

Since 2005, the Enhanced Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (ECWHSP) has offered respiratory examinations to coal miners in a mobile examination unit. As little is known about the cardiovascular health of coal miners, we describe the prevalence of high blood pressure (BP) and obesity among ECWHSP participants. During 2015, 1402 ECWHSP health examinations were performed. The prevalence of BP consistent with hypertension (systolic BP ≥ 140 mm Hg or diastolic BP ≥ 90 mm Hg), prehypertension (systolic BP 120-139 mm Hg or diastolic BP 80-89 mm Hg), and hypertensive crisis (systolic BP ≥ 180 mm Hg or diastolic BP ≥ 110 mm Hg) were calculated and compared with the US adult population using standardized morbidity ratios (SMRs). Most participants were male (N = 1317, 94%), White (N = 1303, 93%) and non-Hispanic (N = 1316, 94%). Thirty-one percent (N = 440) of participants had BP in the hypertensive range and 87% (N = 1215) were overweight/obese. Twenty-four participants (2%) had a BP reading consistent with a hypertensive crisis. Prevalence of obesity (52%, SMR = 1.52, 95% confidence interval = 1.41-1.64) and BP consistent with hypertension (31%, SMR = 1.60, 95% confidence interval = 1.45-1.76) was higher than the US adult population.The prevalence of obesity and BP consistent with hypertension in this population of coal miners is substantial, indicating a need for cardiovascular health interventions in coal mining communities.

Source: Casey, M. L., Fedan, K. B., Edwards, N., Blackley, D. J., Halldin, C. N., Wolfe, A. L., & Laney, A. S. (2017). Journal of the American Society of Hypertension.

Airborne fungal species associated with mouldy and non-mouldy buildings

Effects of air change rates, humidity, and air velocity
Several studies have shown an association between dampness and health issues like headache and asthma. To better understand the exposure risk of fungal growth in buildings this study investigates the release of fungi from gypsum boards infested with fungi from a moisture-damaged house. Further, the composition and concentration of fungal species in indoor air of five non-moisture-damaged homes are analysed, and the ratio between species associated- and not associated with moisture-damaged buildings are related to air change rate (ACR) and relative humidity (RH). The air velocity near the surface of the gypsum boards in combination with the changes in sampling time influenced the particle release rate. After 8 h particles were still released, and more species were released during 8 h with low air velocity than during 15 min with high air velocity. More fungal species and a higher release rate were found from damp surfaces with substantial growth than from gypsum boards dried out before they were totally colonized. In the five homes ACR and RH had a significant influence on the fungal species composition. Thus, a low ACR and a high RH were associated with increased ratio of species associated with moisture-damage relative to species not associated with moisture-damage. In conclusion, increasing the ventilation and reducing the RH of the indoor air will have a beneficial effect on the airborne species composition. Further, fast action by drying out a fungal infestation has a positive impact on the exposure risk in terms of exposure level and species composition.

Source: Knudsen, S. M., Gunnarsen, L., & Madsen, A. M. (2017). Building and Environment.

Risques biologiques infectieux en animalerie de compagnie

Plusieurs zoonoses (bactériennes, virales, parasitaires, mycosiques) peuvent être transmises à l'Homme par les animaux de compagnie. Cependant, une enquête de la Mutualité sociale agricole (MSA) a mis en évidence une méconnaissance par les animaliers des risques encourus. À partir de ce constat, une recherche bibliographique et une étude de poste dans une animalerie de compagnie ont permis de réaliser un état des lieux des risques et des mesures de prévention afin de proposer des pistes d'amélioration. Les résultats montrent qu'il n'est pas toujours facile, dans ce milieu particulier, de faire respecter les mesures de prévention et que des actions d'information sont nécessaires. Une attention particulière doit être portée aux femmes enceintes au contact des chats et des rongeurs, ainsi qu'aux salariés travaillant au contact des oiseaux, devant les risques de toxoplasmose pour les premières, et d'ornithose pour les seconds.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/media.html?refINRS=TF%20245

Aérosols semi-volatils

De l'identification au prélèvement
Des études récentes concernant les aérosols semi-volatils ont révélé des interactions entre les particules et les vapeurs. Encore faut-il être capable d'identifier le caractère semi-volatil d'une substance pour développer une méthode de prélèvement et d'analyse prenant en compte les deux phases, particulaire et vapeur. Cet article a pour but de donner une définition adaptée de ce qu'est un aérosol semi-volatil et d'appliquer cette définition à des composés dont les méthodes de prélèvement et d'analyse ont été développées récemment à l'INRS.

Source: http://www.hst.fr/dms/hst/data/articles/HST/TI-NT-49/nt49.pdf

Review of vapour cloud explosion incidents

Major incidents worldwide have involved large vapour cloud explosions, including the Buncefield explosion in 2005. It is important to learn from historical incidents to understand the risk profile of installations.
Following the Buncefield explosion, a large body of published research has improved scientific understanding of the release event, the flammable cloud formation and the explosion. This report describes work done by HSE with US safety regulators to consolidate previous research and to incorporate recently published analysis into a single, systematic review of historical incidents.
Important new conclusions have been reached that a high proportion of large vapour cloud explosions occur at nil or very low wind speeds. In these conditions, the dispersion from large and medium scale releases will be gravity-driven and the vapour cloud will continue to grow as long as it remains undetected. Large vapour clouds will almost always ignite, the probability of a severe explosion event is very high, especially for gasoline.
These findings have important implications for safety practitioners considering installations where such releases of flammable substances can occur. They reinforce the importance of the main risk control measures of overfill prevention and maintaining plant integrity; but they also suggest that the value of mitigation measures such as vapour detectors and vapour barriers should be reviewed.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1113.htm

Opportunité et risques des nanomatériaux

Le Programme national de recherche PNR 64 «Opportunités et risques des nanomatériaux» a démarré début 2010. 23 groupes de recherche de toute la Suisse ont examiné les opportunités et les risques présentés par les nanomatériaux synthétiques aux différents stades de leur cycle de vie.
Parmi les groupes de recherche, celui mené par Mickael Riediker, ancien chef de groupe à l'IST, est le seul à s'être chargé d'investiguer l'impact des nanomatériaux sur les travailleurs.

Source: http://www.i-s-t.ch/linstitut/activites-et-evenements/actualites/detail-des-actualites/news/opportunites-et-risques-des-nanomateriaux/

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