Surveillance for Angiosarcoma of the Liver Among Vinyl Chloride Workers

Objective: We report the results of our angiosarcoma of the liver (ASL) registry to assess the occurrence, the impact of exposures to vinyl chloride, and to quantify latency.
Methods: We examined more than 73,000 death certificates of North American workers employed between 1940 and 2008.
Results: We found 13 deaths of ASL among workers with vinyl chloride exposure. All 13 occurred at single plant among workers with high vinyl chloride exposure. The mean latency after first exposure was 36.5 years ranging from 24 to 56 years. No ASL deaths occurred among workers with vinyl chloride exposures after 1974, when exposures were reduced.
Conclusions: We may have seen the last case of ASL among workers exposed to vinyl chloride. Nevertheless, given the long latency of this cancer, continued surveillance seems prudent.

Source: Collins, James J.; Jammer, Brenda; Sladeczek, Frank M.; Bodnar, Catherine M.; Salomon, Sergio S. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: November 2014, Volume 56, Issue 11, p. 1207-1209.

Australian Work Exposures Study (AWES) - Lead and lead compounds

The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 (the Strategy) describes work-related cancer as a priority disorder and understanding current hazardous exposures and the effectiveness of controls as a research priority. The Australian Work Exposures Study (AWES) was a national survey that investigated work-related exposures among Australian workers to 38 agents classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as known or suspected carcinogens.
Some forms of lead are considered to be probable carcinogens and the work described in this report uses AWES data to:
• estimate the prevalence of work-related exposure to lead during relatively common workplace activities
• identify the main circumstances of those exposures, and
• identify the use of workplace control measures designed to decrease those exposures.
This report describes those exposures that occur when typical work activities are carried out by Australian workers - it does not specifically focus on high risk lead work or ‘lead' industries.


Ventilation of vehicles used for carriage of acetylene

Following a fatality caused by an acetylene gas explosion involving a van carrying oxy-acetylene welding equipment, HSE commissioned research to investigate foreseeable gas leak rates, vehicle ventilation rates and possible vehicle modifications that would increase the ventilation rate and hence help to mitigate the explosion risk.


Outils complémentaires – Maladie à virus Ebola

L'INSPQ collabore à la diffusion d'outils complémentaires visant une prise en charge sécuritaire de cas de maladie à virus Ebola dans les milieux de soins:
- Procédure de prélèvement par le personnel infirmier pour les cas suspects de maladie à virus Ebola (MVE)
- Maladie à virus Ebola (MVE), formation élaborée par le CHUM 


Laboratoires d'anatomie et de cytologie pathologiques

Ce guide pratique de ventilation s'attache à la prévention du risque chimique dans un laboratoire d'anatomie et de cytologie pathologiques (ACP), en particulier par la mise en oeuvre d'installations de ventilation adaptées aux différents postes fonctionnels que l'on peut retrouver dans ce type de laboratoire.
Dans un premier temps, les étapes de traitement les plus usuelles des prélèvements cytologiques ou tissulaires sont expliquées afin d'appréhender le fonctionnement général d'un laboratoire d'ACP et d'identifier les opérations exposantes. La nature des dangers d'origine chimique est ensuite rappelée. Cet état des lieux aboutit à une série de recommandations relatives à la conception de la ventilation des différents postes de travail.
En annexe sont présentées des réalisations concrètes sous forme de dossiers techniques : réaménagement, conception et rénovation d'un laboratoire, mise en place d'une compensation d'air mécanique dans une salle de macroscopie, simulation aéraulique d'une diffusion d'air neuf.
Ce guide s'adresse aux responsables et au personnel de laboratoire, aux architectes, aux chargés de prévention et à toute personne impliquée dans la conception ou la rénovation d'un laboratoire d'anatomie et de cytologie pathologiques.


Exposition professionnelle aux solvants organiques et cancers du sein chez l’homme et la femme

De nouveaux résultats renforcent les hypothèses sur des facteurs de risque environnementaux
En France, chaque année, plus de 53 000 nouveaux cas et plus de 11 000 décès par cancer du sein sont recensés.
Les facteurs de risque connus ne permettent d'expliquer qu'une minorité des cancers du sein, dans un contexte d'augmentation de l'incidence de cette maladie dans les pays industrialisés.
D'autres facteurs de risque, notamment des expositions environnementales ou professionnelles, sont suspectés mais restent moins étudiés.

Source: Guénel P, Villeneuve S. Exposition professionnelle aux solvants organiques et cancers du sein chez l'homme et la femme : de nouveaux résultats renforcent les hypothèses sur des facteurs de risque environnementaux. Synthèse. Saint-Maurice : Institut de veille sanitaire ; 2014. 4 p.

Neurological outcomes associated with low-level manganese exposure in an inception cohort of asymptomatic welding trainees

Objective: Long-term, high-level exposure to manganese (Mn) is associated with impaired central nervous system (CNS) function. We quantitatively explored relations between low-level Mn exposure and selected neurological outcomes in a longitudinal inception cohort of asymptomatic welder trainees.
Methods: Welders with no previous occupational Mn exposure were observed approximately every three months over the course of the five-quarter traineeship. Fifty-six welders were assessed for motor function using the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale motor subsection part 3 (UPDRS3) and Grooved Pegboard tests. A subset of 17 also had MRI scans to assess T1-weighted indices. Personal exposure to Mn in welding fume was quantitatively assessed during the study period using a mixed model to obtain estimates of subject-specific exposure level by welding type. These estimates were summed to estimate cumulative exposure at the time of each neurological outcome test.
Results: When adjusting for possible learning effects, there were no associations between cumulative exposure and UPDRS3 score or Grooved Pegboard time. T1-weighted indices of the basal ganglia (caudate, anterior putamen, posterior putamen, and combined basal ganglia, but not the pallidal index) exhibited statistically significant increases in signal intensity in relation to increased cumulative Mn exposure.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that T1-weighted changes can be detected in the brain even at very low levels of exposure among humans before any clinically evident deficits. This suggests that with continued follow-up we could identify a T1 threshold of toxicity at which clinical symptoms begin to manifest.

Source: Baker MG, Criswell SR, Racette BA, Simpson CD, Sheppard L, Checkoway H, Seixas NS. Scand J Work Environ Health, 2014.

Captage des fumées de bitume

Vers une évolution des finisseurs
Comment améliorer la protection des travailleurs contre les fumées de bitume, lorsque celui-ci est appliqué sur les chaussées ? À cette question, un groupe de travail composé de différents organismes apporte une réponse : intégrer des systèmes de captage aux finisseurs. Cet article présente les principales conclusions des travaux menés par ce groupe.


Dimethyl sulphate - Health-based calculated occupational cancer risk values

Inhalation exposure dimethyl sulphate at the workplace may cause cancer. The Health Council recommends to classify dimethyl sulphate as ‘presumed to be carcinogenis to humans' (category 1B). The Health Council is further of the opinion that due to a lack of adequate human and animal data, it is not possible to exactly calculate excess cancer risk (health-based calculated occupational cancer risk values) for dimethyl sulphate. This is written in an advisory report of the Health Council, which today is presented to the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment.


Change in airway inflammatory markers in Danish energy plant workers during a working week

Introduction: It is well known that exposure to organic dust can cause adverse respiratory effect. The pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPS) in the organic dust, such as endotoxin from Gram-negative bacteria cell wall and fungal components, can trigger the release of cytokine (e.g. Interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta)) and chemokine (e.g. Interleukin 8 (IL-8)) from the immune cells in the airways. Objective: To evaluate the potential inflammatory effects of organic dust exposure in energy plants in Denmark. Materials and methods: Nasal lavage (NAL) and exhaled breath condensate (EBC) were sampled at Monday morning (referred to as before work) and again at Thursday afternoon (referred to as after work). NAL IL-8, EBC pH, IL-1 beta concentration were measured. Personal exposure to endotoxin and dust was calculated from time spent on different tasks and measured average work area exposures. Results: Before work, workers from biofuel plants had a higher IL-1 beta and IL-8 concentration compared to conventional fuel plants (control group). Specifically, the IL-1 beta level of moderately and most exposed group, and IL-8 level of the least exposed group were higher compared to the control group. The changes of IL-1 beta, pH and IL-8 during a work week were not significant. Workers with rhinitis had a lower percentage change of IL-8 compared to healthy workers. Conclusions: An increased level of EBC IL-1 beta in biofuel energy plant workers before work indicated a chronic or sub-chronic inflammation. The percentage change of IL-8 was lower in workers with rhinitis compared to healthy workers.

Source: Zheng YD, Schlunssen V, Bonlokke J, et al. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Médicine, 2014, 21 (3), p. 534-40. 

Ebola virus disease – risk of exposure at work

The current Ebola epidemic affecting multiple countries in the West Africa region is the worst recorded in history. Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness that is transmitted through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids (e.g. saliva, urine, secretions, semen, stool, breast milk and organs) from infected people, dead or alive. In the current outbreak 45-70 % (average 60 %) of the people who fall ill have died. Symptoms typically appear abruptly, within 2-21 days (8-10 days is most common) following exposure to the virus. Thus, individuals exposed while living, working, or traveling in areas experiencing an ongoing outbreak could develop symptoms up to three weeks after exposure.


Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) in the welding environment

The Electromagnetic fields (EMF) Directive (2013/35/EU) was adopted in June 2013.  Member States are required to bring into force any laws, regulations and or administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by July 1st, 2016. This research report considers various types of welding and the requirements of the Directive.
The report provides:
- A review of available literature using the TWI “Weldasearch” database and other sources
- Measurements of the EMF emissions welders may be exposed to during the welding processes
- Understanding where welding fits in with the requirements of the EMF Directive
- A proposal for an EMF emission risk assessment procedure 
- Guidance on compliance for the welding industry


Exploring the Usefulness of Occupational Exposure Registries for Surveillance

The Case of the Ontario Asbestos Workers Registry (1986–2012)
Objective: The ongoing presence of asbestos in products used across workplaces in Canada reinforces the importance of occupational exposure surveillance. This study evaluates the usefulness of the Ontario Asbestos Workers Registry.
Methods: The study includes 30,829 workers aged 15 to 80 years. Researchers reported on the data quality and analyzed the proportions of workers exposed by industry, and standardized rates by geographic areas and over time.
Results: The incidence of exposure started to decrease around 1990; but about 2000 workers were still exposed annually until 2006. Results showed large geographical disparities. Unexpectedly, workers from industries other than construction reported exposure.
Conclusions: The Ontario Asbestos Workers Registry is a useful but challenging source of information for the surveillance of asbestos exposure in Ontario. The registry could benefit from well-defined surveillance objectives, a clear exposure definition, systematic enforcement, regular data analyses, and results dissemination.

Source: Koné Pefoyo, Anna J.; Genesove, Leon; Moore, Kris; Del Bianco, Ann; Kramer, Desre. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: October 2014, Volume 56, Issue 10, p. 1100–1110.

Occupational exposure to crystalline Silica related to lung cancer scientific evidence synthesis

Silica is a compound made up of silicon and oxygen, in the form of SiO2 (silicon dioxide or crystalline silica). It appears in nature in the form of sand, granite, clay, etc.
Occupational exposure to silica dust occurs during underground mining and quarry mining activities; construction; smelting; cement manufacturing and aggregate processing; manufacturing, handling, and processing of glass, ceramics; etc.
The inhalation of silica dust may lead to a pneumoconiosis in humans called silicosis. Pneumoconiosis are a group of diseases caused by the accumulation of dust in the
lungs and tissue reactions due to its presence, and are included in the group of diffuse interstitial lung diseases (DILD, or EPID in Spanish). Silicosis is recognised as an
occupational disease in the European list of occupational diseases as well as in the occupational disease framework of Spain.


Chemicals in textiles

The Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemikalieinspektionen) was assigned by the Swedish government to compile available and relevant information about the risks to human health and the environment from hazardous substances in textile articles.
The aim of the study was to identify hazardous substances that might be present in textile articles placed on the market and which present a potential risk to humans or the environment. The intention of this report is to serve as a base for further work on developing risk reduction measures for hazardous substances in textiles at the EU level.


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