2012-02-01 12:00 - Messages

Survival of Legionella pneumophila in metalworking fluids

HSE asked HSL to gather supporting evidence as to whether or not water miscible MWFs pose a Legionella infection risk and whether a Legionella risk assessment and appropriate actions are necessary. Three short studies were undertaken with the aim of determining a) whether free living Legionella survive in different types of MWF, b) whether amoebae, that act as hosts for the replication of Legionella, survive in different types of MWF and c) whether a greater concentration of Legionella cells can be detected in samples of used water-miscible MWFs compared to samples of potable mains water used in their preparation. In summary, the findings reported here suggest that neither free-living Legionella nor amoebae proliferate in water miscible MWFs.

Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr910.htm

An evaluation of the efficacy of safer sharps devices

Systematic review
Sharps-related injuries carry the risk of serious blood borne infection. A systematic review was undertaken to consider the evidence related to safer sharps devices and their impact on needlestick injury reduction within the healthcare sector. The review sought to determine whether:
- the use of safer sharps devices could reduce the incidence of sharps injury;
- dedicated educational / training initiatives could reduce the incidence of sharps injuries;
- safer sharps devices were accepted by the hospital personnel asked to use them; and
- safer sharps devices had any proven impact on patient care outcomes.
The quality and quantity of evidence was limited, mainly due to study designs used by publishing authors. Despite this, there was sufficient published evidence to consider the use of safer sharps devices to reduce the incidence of sharps injuries amongst UK healthcare workers.
Studies showed that when educational programmes were implemented alongside a safer sharps device, lower rates of sharps injuries were sustained for longer. However, the benefit attributable to education alone could not be isolated from the impact of the introduction of the safer sharps device.
Few studies have investigated user acceptability of safer sharps devices and patient outcomes, and more studies are required to assess these areas with greater certainty.

Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr914.htm

Mortality attributable to occupational exposure in Sweden

Objectives The objective of this study was to estimate the mortality from cancer, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases attributable to occupational exposure in Sweden.
Methods Estimates were calculated for men and women separately, and we considered only deaths between 25–74 years of age. We considered cancer exposures/sites classified as I or 2a according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Acute myocardial infarction was the only included cardiovascular disease. Respiratory diseases comprised chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) asthma, pneumoconiosis and alveolitis. All deaths of pneumoconiosis and alveolitis were considered work-related. Estimates were based on the Swedish mortality in 2007.
Results In total, we estimate that there are about 800 work-related deaths per year in the studied causes. The majority are due to acute myocardial infarction, with 126 deaths among women and 337 deaths among men attributable to job strain, shift work, exhaust gases, combustion products, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). There are 99 respiratory disease-related deaths, the vast majority from COPD (N=92). In total, 270 cancer deaths are estimated to be work-related. For men, half of the cases are attributed to asbestos exposure.
Conclusions Our results indicate that preventive measures to decrease occupational mortality should consider factors associated with myocardial infarction such as job strain, shift work and exhaust gases from vehicles and combustion products. Exposures to factors associated with COPD, such as dust, also seem important to prevent.

Source : Järvholm B, Reuterwall C, Bystedt J. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2012.
http://dx.doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3284

ECHA launches Classification and Labelling inventory

This database contains classification and labelling information on notified and registered substances received from manufacturers and importers. It also includes the list of harmonised classifications. Companies have provided this information in their C&L notifications or registration dossiers. ECHA maintains the Inventory, but does not verify the accuracy of the information. Companies have provided this information in their C&L notifications or registration dossiers.

Source : http://osha.europa.eu/en/news/echa-launches-classification-and-labelling-inventory

Aluminium and aluminium compounds

An agreement has been signed by the Dutch Expert Committee on Occupational Safety (DECOS) of the Health Council of the Netherlands and the Nordic Expert
Group for Criteria Documentation of Health Risks from Chemicals (NEG). The purpose of the agreement is to write joint scientific criteria documents, which could be used by the national regulatory authorities in both the Netherlands and in the Nordic countries. The document on aluminium and aluminium compounds has been reviewed by DECOS as well as by NEG. The members of both committees are listed in Appendix 2. The first draft of this report was prepared by G Schaafsma, S Dekkers, WR Leeman, ED Kroese, and JHE Arts from TNO Quality of life, Zeist, the Netherlands. The joint document is published separately by DECOS and NEG.
The NEG version presented herein has been adapted to the requirements of NEG and the format of Arbete och Hälsa. The editorial work and technical editing have
been carried out by Anna-Karin Alexandrie and Jill Järnberg, scientific secretaries of NEG, at the Swedish Work Environment Authority. NEG is financially supported by the Swedish Work Environment Authority and the Norwegian Ministry of Labour.

Source : http://gupea.ub.gu.se/bitstream/2077/28447/1/gupea_2077_28447_1.pdf

Valorisation des données d’exposition professionnelle mesurées au Québec depuis 1980 par les équipes du Réseau public québécois en santé au travail

Étude préliminaire
La connaissance des conditions d'exposition historiques des travailleurs à des substances chimiques est importante à plusieurs égards : surveillance, analyse de risque toxicologique, épidémiologie professionnelle, indemnisation, création de modèles d'exposition prédictifs… Depuis les années 1980, les équipes du réseau public de santé au travail québécois ont effectué près d'un million de mesures de l'exposition à ces substances, lesquelles sont conservées dans des rapports d'hygiène rédigés sur papier. Cette étude préliminaire établira la faisabilité de la création d'une banque de données électronique d'exposition québécoise couvrant les années 1980-2008 tirées de ces rapports. Elle estimera les ressources nécessaires et évaluera les données déjà disponibles en format électronique, dont la banque SMEST (Surveillance Médico-Environnementale de la Santé des Travailleurs). De plus, un outil interactif sera constitué à l'aide de la banque analytique de l'IRSST (LIMS - Laboratory information management system) pour permettre aux chercheurs de déterminer rapidement la disponibilité et l'emplacement dans le réseau de santé du Québec de données d'exposition concernant une substance ou un secteur d'activité précis. Ce projet pilote servira de tremplin à l'élaboration à moyen terme d'une banque de données québécoises de mesures d'exposition professionnelle de 1980 à 2008.

Source : http://www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-etude-preliminaire-valorisation-des-donnees-exposition-professionnelle-mesurees-au-quebec-depuis-1980-equipes-du-reseau-public-quebecois-en-sante-au-travail-r-723.html

Synthèse des connaissances sur la trémolite contenue dans le talc

Les milieux de travail font une utilisation croissante de talc, de vermiculite et d'autres produits commerciaux contenant de la trémolite. Ce contaminant naturel peut se présenter sous une forme fibreuse, soit " asbestiforme ", ou sous celle de fragments, de plaquettes ou d'aiguilles, soit " non asbestiforme ". Il en découle des interprétations différentes de sa nature minéralogique, de son analyse en laboratoire, de sa toxicité et, par conséquent, de la réglementation applicable et des façons de protéger les travailleurs. À la demande de la CSST, les chercheurs feront un bilan critique de la littérature pour clarifier l'état des connaissances concernant la trémolite et ses effets sur la santé et la sécurité. Ils diffuseront ensuite les résultats de leur recherche au moyen d'outils adaptés au contexte québécois, ce qui facilitera les interventions visant la prévention des maladies professionnelles.

Source : http://www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-synthese-des-connaissances-tremolite-contenue-dans-talc-r-724.html

Nanomatériaux

Prévention des risques dans les laboratoires
Ce document est destiné à informer et à donner des réponses pratiques et des conseils de prévention pour la manipulation de nanomatériaux manufacturés dans les laboratoires.
Il s'adresse aux responsables, aux personnels, aux préventeurs et à toute personne amenée au sein d'un laboratoire à fabriquer, utiliser ou caractériser des nanomatériaux.
Il porte exclusivement sur la prévention des risques liés aux nanomatériaux manufacturés, quel que soit le domaine d'activité du laboratoire : chimie, physique, mécanique, biologie, toxicologie, etc. Il ne traite pas des risques liés à leur mise en oeuvre, comme l'emploi de solvants ou la msie ne oeuvre de lasers, qu'il convient de prendre en considération lors de l'évaluation des risques.

Source : http://www.inrs.fr/default/dms/inrs/CataloguePapier/ED/TI-ED-6115/ed6115.pdf

Vapour cloud formation

Experiments and modelling
Hazard analysis for overfilling of a tank with a volatile liquid is a complex and important problem but (prior to the Buncefield incident) had not been the subject of significant research effort. Since the incident HSE has sponsored a programme of experimental and modelling research to investigate the technical issues involved and develop methods of analysis.
The objective is that HSE, and industries responsible for filling tanks, will be in a position to agree on a reliable method to determine the character of the vapour cloud generated in the event of an overfill. This will allow appropriate consideration of the overfill scenario i.e fluid type, tank size, fill rate etc. to be taken into account in hazard assessments for land use planning and emergency planning purposes. HSE's Vapour Cloud Assessment method is detailed in Appendix 1. Some example cases are worked through in this Appendix.

 Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr908.htm

Éléments techniques sur l’exposition professionnelle aux fibres minérales artificielles

Ce guide a pour but de présenter les matrices emplois-expositions spécifiques des fibres minérales artificielles développées par le Département santé travail (DST) de l'Institut de veille sanitaire (InVS) et l'Essat (Équipe associée en santé travail ; InVS-DST/Isped-LSTE ; Bordeaux), et de donner des éléments techniques sur l'exposition professionnelle à ces produits en France de 1945 à 2007 (laines minérales) et de 1960 à 2007 (fibres céramiques réfractaires-FCR). Les matrices emplois-expositions fournissent, pour l'ensemble des emplois considérés comme exposés en France, une probabilité, une fréquence et une intensité d'exposition pour les laines minérales (définies ici par les laines de verre, de roche et de laitier) et pour les FCR.

Source : http://www.invs.sante.fr/Publications-et-outils/Rapports-et-syntheses/Travail-et-sante/2012/Elements-techniques-sur-l-exposition-professionnelle-aux-fibres-minerales-artificielles

Cognitive function among sons of women who worked in dentistry

Objective Exposure to elemental mercury vapor can impair neurological function as it is neurotoxic in doses higher than usually found in dentistry. Little is known about the potential effects of fetal exposure to elemental mercury among offspring of female dental workers. We investigated cognitive function among offspring of women working in dentistry at the time of their pregnancy.
Methods We compared results for cognitive function examinations taken by the majority of young men in Sweden at the time of compulsory military enlistment (age 17–18 years). Sons of female dentists (N=365) and dental nurses (N=3181) born during the 1960–1970s were compared with sons of female physicians (N=378) and assistant nurses (N=12 667).
Results Analysis by linear regression showed that sons of dental workers had similar or higher cognitive function test results compared to their matched cohorts.
Conclusion We found no evidence of poorer cognitive function among male offspring of female dentists or dental nurses.

Source : Naimi-Akbar A, Sandborgh-Englund G, Ekbom A, Ekstrand J, Montgomery S. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2012.
http://www.sjweh.fi/show_abstract.php?abstract_id=3279&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Sjweh-Online-firstArticles+%28SJWEH+-+Online-first+articles%29

Hair, Formaldehyde, and Industrial Hygiene

Even if you're not particularly fashion conscious, it's been pretty hard to miss hearing about the Brazilian Blowout smoothing solution over the past year. Imagining a 10% solution of methylene glycol/formaldehyde being applied, dried, and flat-ironed on hair in a salon is enough to make most industrial hygienists cringe. Until recently, comments about the same product from a fashion-conscious, non-industrial hygienist might have been, “I love the product,” or, “It really tames unmanageable hair.”

Source : http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2012/02/hair-smoothers/

Occupational exposures among nurses and risk of spontaneous abortion

Objective : We investigated self-reported occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs, anesthetic gases, antiviral drugs, sterilizing agents (disinfectants), and X-rays and the risk of spontaneous abortion in US nurses.
Study Design : Pregnancy outcome and occupational exposures were collected retrospectively from 8461 participants of the Nurses' Health Study II. Of these, 7482 were eligible for analysis using logistic regression.
Results : Participants reported 6707 live births, and 775 (10%) spontaneous abortions (<20 weeks). After adjusting for age, parity, shift work, and hours worked, antineoplastic drug exposure was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of spontaneous abortion, particularly with early spontaneous abortion before the 12th week, and 3.5-fold increased risk among nulliparous women. Exposure to sterilizing agents was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of late spontaneous abortion (12-20 weeks), but not with early spontaneous abortion.
Conclusion : This study suggests that certain occupational exposures common to nurses are related to risks of spontaneous abortion.

Source : Christina C. Lawson, PhDa, Carissa M. Rocheleau, PhDa, Elizabeth A. Whelan, PhDa, Eileen N. Lividoti Hibert, MAb, Barbara Grajewski, PhDa, Donna Spiegelman, ScDd, e, Janet W. Rich-Edwards, ScD. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2011.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2011.12.030

Neurobehavioral performance among agricultural workers and pesticide applicators

A meta-analytic study
Chronic low level exposure of agricultural workers and applicators to pesticides has been found to be associated with different degrees of decrement in cognitive and psychomotor functions. The goal of this study was to use meta-analysis to (1) identify and quantify neurobehavioral deficits among agricultural workers and pesticide applicators, and (2) analyse the potential confounders or moderators of these neurobehavioral deficits. Seventeen studies, reporting on 21 independent cohort groups, were included in the meta-analysis. These studies involved 16 neuropsychological tests providing 23 different performance measures that constitute the neurobehavioral constructs. All tests and measures of the neurobehavioral functions of attention, visuomotor integration, verbal abstraction and perception constructs showed significant decrements for exposed participants. One out of three tests of memory, two of five tests of sustained attention, and four of eight tests of motor speed constructs also showed significant decrements. Nine out of these 15 effect size distributions demonstrated significant heterogeneity across cohorts. A search for cohort-level variables (eg, agricultural workers vs applicators, duration of exposure, age and percentage of male participants) to explain this heterogeneity was largely unsuccessful. However, for one test, Block Design, the duration of exposure was positively associated with performance decrements. Furthermore, it was also found that performance decrements on this test were smaller for older participants. Increasing the number of studies and using more consistent methodologies in field studies are needed.

Source : Ismail AA, Bodner TE, Rohlman DS. Occup. Environ. Med. 2012.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2011-100204

Peripheral Nervous System Function and Organophosphate Pesticide Use among Licensed Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study

Background: Evidence is limited that long-term human exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides, without poisoning, is associated with adverse peripheral nervous system (PNS) function. Objective: To investigate associations between OP pesticide use and PNS function, we administered PNS tests to 701 male pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). Methods: Participants completed a neurological physical examination (NPx), electrophysiological tests, and tests of hand strength, sway speed and vibrotactile threshold. Self-reported information on lifetime use of 16 OP pesticides was obtained from AHS interviews and a study questionnaire. Associations between pesticide use and measures of PNS function were estimated with linear and logistic regression controlling for age and outcome-specific covariates. Results: Significantly increased odds ratios were observed for associations between ever-use of 10 of the 16 OP pesticides and one or more of the six NPx outcomes. Most notably, abnormal toe proprioception was significantly associated with ever-use of six OP pesticides with odds ratios ranging from 2.03 to 3.06; monotonic increases in strength of association with increasing use was observed for three of the six pesticides. Mostly null associations were observed between OP pesticide use and electrophysiological tests, hand strength, sway speed, and vibrotactile threshold. Conclusions: This study provides some evidence that long-term exposure to OP pesticides is associated with signs of impaired PNS function among pesticide applicators.

Source : Starks SE, Hoppin JA, Kamel F, Lynch CF, Jones MP, Alavanja MC, Sandler DP, Gerr F. Environ. Health Perspect. 2012.
http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchObjectAttachment.action;jsessionid=6A479E059F697EC66F0D01EDCD30B67A?uri=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1103944&representation=PDF

Mesures de prévention et de contrôle de la grippe saisonnière en centre hospitalier de soins généraux et spécialisés

L'objectif de ce document est de fournir des recommandations sur les mesures de prévention et de contrôle de la grippe saisonnière à appliquer dans les centres hospitaliers de soins généraux et spécialisés (CHSGS), incluant les unités de pédiatrie. Il s'adresse aux équipes locales de prévention et de contrôle des infections (PCI) qui travaillent en collaboration avec les autres directions concernées, avec leur service de santé et sécurité au travail et aussi avec leur direction de santé publique, au besoin.
Ce document est divisé en cinq chapitres suivis de neuf annexes. Le premier chapitre aborde les notions essentielles sur la grippe et la préparation à la saison grippale. Dans le deuxième chapitre, il est question de vaccination et de surveillance. Le troisième chapitre porte sur la hiérarchie des mesures, les pratiques de base, l'hygiène et l'étiquette respiratoire ainsi que les mesures de prévention et de contrôle. De plus, les mesures spécifiques en présence d'un cas de grippe confirmé y sont expliquées avec des recommandations spécifiques concernant les patients présentant un syndrome d'allure grippale (SAG), l'hygiène et salubrité, les visiteurs, la prise en charge des travailleurs de la santé ainsi que les communications. Au quatrième chapitre, la définition d'éclosion de grippe, les mesures de contrôle durant une éclosion avec les recommandations spécifiques et les critères de signalement à la santé publique sont présentés. Finalement, la place de l'utilisation des antiviraux décrite de façon plus détaillée fait l'objet du dernier chapitre.

Source : http://www.inspq.qc.ca/publications/notice.asp?E=p&NumPublication=1391

Cold Stress

For many, a sweater or an extra degree on the thermostat is all that's needed to keep warm at work on a cold day. Not so for those working outside or in an area that is poorly insulated or without heat. These workers may be at risk of cold stress. What constitutes cold stress and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions relatively unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered factors for cold stress. Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and wind speed increases, heat can more rapidly leave the body. These weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems.

Source: http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2012/01/cold-stress/ 

Unrecognized risks of nickel-related respiratory cancer among Canadian electrolysis workers

Objectives Nickel compounds, inclusive of water-soluble salts, have been classified as human carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Nickel producers have disputed the classification of soluble nickel compounds for three decades with reference to an alleged absence of excess respiratory cancer among Canadian nickel-exposed electrolysis workers. We evaluated historical data from two electrolytic refineries in Ontario, both included in prominent Canadian reports on occupational nickel-related cancer.
Methods For Port Colborne nickel refinery (PCNR) and Copper Cliff copper refinery (CCCR), we identified process descriptions, exposure estimates, and original reports on cancer mortality using reference lists, libraries, and state archives. The documents were written or published between 1930 and 1992.
Results For PCNR, a 1977 US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health criteria document demonstrated an excess nasal cancer risk among electrolysis workers independent of furnace exposure. PCNR studies published after 1980 excluded 26% of long-term refiners who died from respiratory cancer according to earlier reports, and 42% of the workers had unknown vital status at the end of follow-up, biasing the standardized observed-to-expected mortality ratios downwards, most pronounced in recent reports and for workers without pension or company benefits. CCCR reports did not adequately address soluble nickel exposure in the evaluation of an observed occupational lung cancer excess.
Conclusions While acknowledging important contributions to the recognition of nickel carcinogenicity from highly exposed Canadian refiners, we conclude that the claimed absence of nickel-related respiratory cancer among electrolysis workers has resulted from an arbitrary overemphasis of biased and inconclusive findings.

Source : http://www.sjweh.fi/show_abstract.php?abstract_id=3274

ECHA recommends thirteen Substances of Very High Concern for authorisation

The European Chemicals Agency has submitted to the European Commission a recommendation that thirteen Substances of Very High Concern should in future not be used without authorisation. These substances are all classified because of their carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (or a combination thereof) properties. They are used in applications where there is potential for worker exposure.

The protection of human health and the environment is at the heart of REACH. Making these thirteen Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) subject to authorisation seeks to ensure that their risks are properly controlled and that the substances are progressively replaced with suitable alternative substances or technologies.

Source : http://www.echa.europa.eu/fr/view-article/-/journal_content/84f13bf9-d6fd-41ee-aeeb-cdf2e7e9cdee

Occupational exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and the risk of uveal melanoma

Objectives We investigated the association between occupational exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) and the risk of uveal melanoma using international data of a case–control study from nine European countries.
Methods After exclusion of proxy interviews, 280 cases and 3084 control subjects were included in the final analysis. Information on possible exposure to EDC was derived from 27 job-specific questionnaires (JSQ), which solicited detailed questions on occupational tasks. Relative risk estimates were based on the JSQ and potential exposure to a group of endocrine-disrupting agents. We constructed several exposure scores, taking into account intensity of exposure, use of personal protective equipment, and exposure duration. We calculated unconditional logistic regression analyses, adjusting for country, age, sex, eye color and a history of ocular damage due to intense ultraviolet (UV) exposure.
Results The overall exposure prevalence to EDC was low reaching a maximum of 11% for heavy metals with endocrine-disrupting properties. Although working in some industries was associated with increased melanoma risk [such as dry cleaning: odds ratio (OR) 6.15, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 2.0–18.96 and working in the glass manufacturing industry: OR 3.49, 95% CI 1.10–11.10], agent-specific risks were not elevated. The strongest possible risk increase was observed for organic solvents with endocrine-disrupting properties (OR 1.31, 95% CI 0.78–2.21). Calculation of exposure scores did not indicate consistently elevated results with higher score values. Sensitivity analyses did not alter these results.
Conclusion Occupational exposure to EDC was not associated with an increased risk for uveal melanoma.

Source : http://www.sjweh.fi/show_abstract.php?abstract_id=3265

Occupational exposure to particles and incidence of stroke

Objectives This paper aims to investigate the relation between occupational exposure to particles, particle size, and the incidence of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
Methods The cohort included all manual workers identified from the Swedish National Census in 1980, who were alive as of 1 January 1987. First time events of ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke during the period 1987–2005 were identified through linkage to the Hospital Discharge Register and the National Cause of Death Register. A job-exposure matrix for exposure to small (1 µm) particles was developed and applied. Hazard ratios (HR) were estimated by Cox regression with adjustment for age, socioeconomic group, and residential area.
Results Increased HR of ischemic as well as hemorrhagic stroke were found among both women and men occupationally exposed to small as well as large particles. The risks were higher for workers exposed for ≥5 years compared to “ever exposed” participants indicating a dose–response relationship, but no trend with exposure intensity was observed. The risks were generally higher for women than men. <> Conclusions Occupational exposure to small and large particles was associated with increased risks of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Further studies are needed to explore the relationships between exposure to different types of particles and various doses and the occurrence of stroke among women as well as men.

Source : http://www.sjweh.fi/show_abstract.php?abstract_id=3271

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