2009-02-01 12:00 - Messages

FramingNano Mapping Study on Regulation and Governance of Nanotechnology
Nanotechnologies are expected to be one of the main drivers of the technological evolution of the early part of the XXI Century. Due to the unique properties and behaviour of matter at the nanoscale and its enabling characteristics, nanotechnologies have the potential to profoundly transform all the most important industrial sectors and everyday life.
All over the world, both developed and emerging countries are devoting increasing resources to promote nanoscience and nanotechnologies in an effort aimed at gaining a leading position in the field and reaping the benefits promised. However, the belief is also becoming widely shared that the hopes pinned on this emerging technology will fully materialise only if its development will take place responsibly.
Effective control of gas shielded arc welding fume
HSE inspectors have noted that, although Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) was often available for controlling exposure to welding fume, it frequently remained unused, due, partly to claims by welders that the LEV was responsible for removing shielding gas and thereby compromising the quality of the weld. However, there appeared to be few data to substantiate the welders’ claims. HSE commissioned this research project to establish whether efficient welding fume capture could be achieved using LEV whilst, at the same time, maintaining weld metal integrity.
Pollution au mercure : FNE tire le signal d’alarme
A la veille de la réunion de Nairobi (16 février) du Programme des Nations-Unies pour l’Environnement sur les dangers du mercure, France Nature Environnement publie les résultats français de la campagne internationale Zero Mercury. Cette campagne est coordonnée en Europe par le Bureau Européen de l’Environnement (BEE) et au niveau mondial par le Zero Mercury Working Group, un réseau constitué par 75 ONG à travers le monde.
Interdit en France en 1998 pour les thermomètres médicaux, le mercure est toujours utilisé dans la production du chlore et pour les amalgames dentaires. Toxique pour l’homme et la nature, ce métal lourd continue à contaminer notre environnement.
Risk Assessment of Products of Nanotechnologies
This Opinion deals with the recent developments in the risk assessment of nanomaterials for both man and the environment. The in-depth characterisation of a manufactured nanomaterial on the basis of its physical-chemical characteristics is essential. Due to the
size and material specific temporal evolution of some nanomaterials, potentially hazardous nanomaterials need to be characterised both ‘as manufactured’ and in the various possible forms ‘as delivered’ in biological systems, or to a human in a specific application, or to a particular ecosystem of concern. The characterisation ‘as manufactured’ provides information for the material safety data sheet of the product
itself. The characterisation ‘as used’ in biological systems is needed as properties of nanomaterials may change considerably, notably the size distribution due to
agglomeration/aggregation of the particles. An issue of specific importance is the properties of the nanomaterial as it is actually used in products and to which consumers
may be exposed. For the risk assessment the latter characterisation is of highest relevance.
Amiante : l’Afsset préconise une révision de la réglementation pour renforcer la protection des travailleurs et de la population générale
Les ministères chargés de l’écologie, du travail et de la santé ont saisi l’Agence française de sécurité sanitaire de l’environnement et du travail (Afsset) en février 2005 sur les risques pour la santé des fibres courtes et des fibres fines d’amiante non prises en compte par la réglementation actuelle.
L’expertise de l’Afsset conclut que les fibres fines ont un effet cancérogène significatif. Pour les fibres courtes, rien ne permet d’écarter un effet cancérogène, même si les données sanitaires actuelles présentent de nombreuses limites d’interprétation.
Cependant, ces fibres courtes prédominent très largement dans les lieux où les matériaux amiantés se dégradent et ne peuvent être ignorées.
Silica baseline survey

The Silica Baseline Survey (SBS) has established baseline intelligence on employee exposures and the control of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) in 4 UK industry sectors: brick- and tile-manufacture, stonemasonry, quarrying and construction.

The objectives were:

  1. to establish whether engineering controls and the use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE)) were adequate to reduce exposures below the Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) for RCS;
  2. to assess the reliability of the exposure controls (termed “competence”);
  3. to identify common causes of failures of exposure controls, and
  4. to provide data against which the effect of HSE interventions can be assessed in future.
Analysis of CTI foundry dataset
The aim of this study is to provide a statistical analysis of an exposure dataset provided by Castings Technology International (CTI). The purpose of the analysis is to provide a ‘snapshot’ of current exposure levels to ferrous foundry particulate (FFP) and other chemicals across a range of casting and fabrication related jobs.
Online Guide Explains Safe Uses of Beryllium
"Interactive Guide to Working Safely with Beryllium and Beryllium-containing Materials," a guide that won a 2008 National Occupational Research Agenda Partnering Award for Worker Health and Safety, is now available on the Brush Wellman Inc. Web site. Brush Wellman, the world's largest producer of beryllium and beryllium-containing materials, developed the guide in January 2008 with Axcept Media, LLC, but until now it was available only in disk form.
Interim Guidance for Medical Screening and Hazard Surveillance for Workers Potentially Exposed to Engineered Nanoparticles
Concerns have been raised about whether workers exposed to engineered nanoparticles are at increased risk of adverse health effects. The current body of evidence about the possible health risks of occupational exposure to engineered nanoparticles is quite small. While there is increasing evidence to indicate that exposure to some engineered nanoparticles can cause adverse health effects in laboratory animals, no health studies of workers exposed to the few engineered nanoparticles tested in animals have been published. The purpose of this document from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is to provide interim guidance about whether specific medical screening, including performing medical tests on asymptomatic workers, is appropriate for these workers.
Measurement of Airborne Influenza Virus in a Hospital Emergency Department
Size-fractionated aerosol particles were collected in a hospital emergency department to test for airborne influenza virus. Using real-time polymerase chain reaction, we confirmed the presence of airborne influenza virus and found that 53% of detectable influenza virus particles were within the respirable aerosol fraction. Our results provide evidence that influenza virus may spread through the airborne route.
Q&A: Saving the Exposure Limits
The Foundation for Occupational Health & Safety recently created the Sustainable TLV®/BEI® Fund to ensure the continued development of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs®) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs®). FOHS President Dean Lillquist, Ph.D., CIH, and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®) board chair Larry Gibbs, MEd, MPH, CIH, discussed the new fund Dec. 11, 2008, one week after the FOHS announced it. This Q&A is the result.
NO2 Emission Increases Associated with the Use of Certain Diesel Particulate Filters in Underground Mines
In response to new exposure standards to lower miners' exposure to diesel particulate matter (DPM), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and others have conducted research into control technologies to reduce DPM emissions.  The mining industry—and specifically dieselized mines—also continue to work toward finding feasible controls to implement in their mines.  Although emissions of and exposure to DPM can sometimes be controlled through the use of newer diesel engines, better engine maintenance, use of alternative fuels, or ventilation upgrades, some mines may need to use diesel particulate filters. However, this has created concern about potential exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) resulting from their use.
Diesel exhaust
NIOSH has determined that diesel exhaust is a potential human carcinogen, based on a combination of chemical, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity data. In addition, acute exposures to diesel exhaust have been linked to health problems such as eye and nose irritation, headaches, nausea, and asthma. Currently, underground miners can be exposed to over 100 times the typical environmental concentration of diesel exhaust and over 10 times that measured in other workplaces. In addition, miner exposure to diesel emissions promises to become more widespread as diesel equipment becomes more popular within the mining community.
Investigation d’un syndrome des bâtiments malsains dans les laboratoires du rez-de-jardin de l’Institut de biologie du CHU de Nantes
Des problèmes de santé persistants ont été observés depuis 2006 parmi le personnel d’un Centre de recherche en cancérologie et le personnel d’autres laboratoires situés au même étage de l’Institut de biologie du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Nantes. Une enquête rétrospective a été menée avec un questionnaire auto-administré chez le personnel concerné.
Parmi les 183 répondants, 71 % ont déclaré avoir ressenti des symptômes irritatifs (ORL, oculaires ou cutanés), généraux, digestifs ou respiratoires sur leur lieu de travail en 2006 ou 2007. La prévalence des symptômes augmentait de 22 % au 1er semestre 2006 à 52 % après octobre 2007. Deux pics de signalements ont été observés en janvier 2007 (à la suite de la fermeture de pièces de culture cellulaire) et en octobre 2007 (à la suite d’un pic d’odeurs). La fréquence des symptômes était significativement plus importante chez les femmes, chez les ingénieurs ou techniciens, chez les personnes utilisant des désinfectants et chez les personnes ayant une perception négative de l’hygrométrie, de la température ou du renouvellement d’air à leur poste de travail. En dehors d’une zone desservie par une des cinq centrales de traitement de l’air, la fréquence des symptômes était homogène chez le personnel travaillant dans le reste des locaux.
Les études environnementales ont confirmé la mauvaise qualité de la ventilation, de la température et de l'hygrométrie sans concentrations excessives de composés organiques volatils. Selon l’avis d’experts toxicologues consultés, une hypothèse toxique apparaît peu plausible. Ces évènements sont décrits dans la littérature sous le terme de syndrome des bâtiments malsains.
Occupational exposure to organic dusts and cancer among Finnish workers
Organic dusts of vegetable, animal or microbial origin are major causes of occupational diseases of the respiratory tract. There is inconclusive evidence concerning the risk of cancer from organic dusts, and only limited knowledge or inhalatory exposure to some organic dusts and cancer, e.g., bacteria and moulds. The food industry and agriculture have
significant occupational organic dust exposure.
Paraguay : les contacts avec les pesticides multiplient les risques de malformations congénitales
Exposure to pesticides is a known risk for human health. This paper describes the relationship between parental exposure and congenital malformations in the newborn. Objective: To study the association between exposure to pesticides and
congenital malformations in neonates born in the Regional Hospital of Encarnacion, in the Department of Itapua, Paraguay. Materials and Methods: A prospective casecontrolled study carried out from March 2006 to February 2007. Cases included all newborns with congenital malformations, and controls were all healthy children of the same sex born immediately thereafter. Births outside the hospital were not counted. Exposure was considered to be any contact with agricultural chemicals, in addition to other known risk factors for congenital defects.
The Work-Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report, 2007
The seventh of a series, the Work-Related Lung Disease (WoRLD) Surveillance Report 2007 provides information on various work-related respiratory diseases and associated exposures in the United States. The WoRLD Surveillance Report 2007 describes where these diseases are occurring (by industry and geographic location), who is affected (by race, gender, age, and occupation), how frequently they occur, and temporal trends. Volume 2 focuses on respiratory conditions by NORA industrial sector.
Entrée en vigueur dans l'UE du SGH, le nouveau système de classification et d'étiquetage des agents chimiques
Le système général harmonisé de classification et d'étiquetage des produits chimiques (SGH) est désormais intégré dans l'ordre juridique communautaire. Le règlement qui adopte ce système a en effet été publié au Journal officiel de l'Union européenne le 20 janvier.
Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program - Interim Report
The Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP) was developed to help provide a firmer scientific foundation for regulatory decisions by encouraging submission and development of information for nanoscale materials. The NMSP comprised two sub-programs, the Basic Program and the In-Depth Program. When the NMSP was initiated, EPA committed to issue this interim report after one year. The Agency welcomes comments on this interim report EPA will issue a more detailed final report and program evaluation at the conclusion of the NMSP in early 2010.
Évaluation des risques sanitaires associés à l’inhalation de composés organiques volatiles, métaux lourds et hydrocarbures aromatiques polycycliques autour de 3 zones multi-émettrices en Rhône-Alpes
Certaines zones en Rhône-Alpes concentrent à la fois de nombreuses industries, un important trafic routier et de grandes populations, ce qui pose la question de l’impact sanitaire des émissions atmosphériques sur ces zones.
Trois zones ont été retenues pour l’étude, où l’industrie chimique est particulièrement implantée : le sud lyonnais (Pierre-Bénite, Saint-Fons), le sud grenoblois (Pont-de-Claix, Jarrie) et la moyenne vallée du Rhône (Roussillon, Salaise-sur-Sanne).
Dans un but d’information des acteurs locaux et d’aide à la définition de priorités d’action en matière de réduction des émissions, l’objectif de l’étude était de s’appuyer sur la métrologie pour :
- évaluer les expositions chroniques par inhalation aux COV, HAP et métaux lourds émis par les sources extérieures de pollution dans les quartiers les plus exposés à ces sources sur les zones d’étude ;
- estimer les risques sanitaires potentiels associés à ces expositions.
World’s First Mandatory National Nanotech Requirement Pending
Canada is reportedly planning in February to become the first nation in the world to require companies to detail their use of engineered nanomaterials. The information gathered under the requirement will be used to evaluate the risks of engineered nanomaterials and will help to develop appropriate safety measures to protect human health and the environment.
Cancers professionnels : mobilisation générale
En 2006, il y a eu plus d'un million de décès par cancer dans l'Union européenne. Un pourcentage non négligeable de ces décès a été provoqué par l'exposition à des risques cancérogènes sur le lieu de travail. En France, selon les estimations de l'Institut de veille sanitaire (InVS), la part des cancers liés au travail se situerait entre 3% et 6% soit entre 5 000 et 10 000 cas par an. L'exposition professionnelle à des agents cancérogènes est source d'inégalités sociales de santé. L'enquête Sumer montre que les ouvriers sont les plus touchés. Plusieurs dispositifs existent pour maintenir les salariés atteints d'un cancer dans leur emploi. Mais, dans tous les cas, le maintien dans l'emploi requiert un changement d'organisation du travail.

Pour une meilleure prévention des risques CMR (cancérogène, mutagène ou toxique pour la reproduction), il paraît important de travailler sur la traçabilité des expositions. Malgré le renforcement des obligations pesant sur les employeurs et la mobilisation des pouvoirs publics, la prévention des cancers professionnels piétine. Aussi, il est plus que nécessaire d'impliquer les salariés pour réduire ces expositions. Encore aujourd'hui, la prévention du risque chimique et cancérogène repose essentiellement sur le respect des normes d'exposition et de consignes de sécurité, ainsi que l'utilisation de protections collectives ou individuelles. Des entreprises ont fait le pari gagnant de la substitution. La démarche consiste à remplacer les produits cancérogènes par des substances moins dangereuses. En 2007, le réglement européen REACH relatif à l'enregistrement, l'évaluation et l'autorisation des produits chimiques, est entré en vigueur. Il constitue une avancée importante car, il vise à mieux protéger la santé humaine et l'environnement contre les risques que ces produits présentent.
SANTE ET TRAVAIL, No 65, Janvier 2009, p. 25-41.
Black Lung Disease on the Rise
In September 2007, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) confirmed what doctors and occupational health specialists had been seeing when examining X-rays of coal miners’ lungs during the past several years. After years of decline, the rate of deadly disease had doubled and was appearing in younger and younger miners.
Handling Needles in the Waste and Recycling Industry
This ‘good practice’ was written in consultation and with the support of the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH). It does not aim to be compr ehensive but gives examples of good practice within the industry.
Managing offensive/hygiene waste
This ‘good practice’ guidance was written in consultation and with the support of the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH). It does not aim to be comprehensive but gives examples of good practice within the industry.
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