2012-05-01 12:00 - Messages

New ISO Technical Report Guides Characterization of Nanomaterials in Toxicology

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently published a Technical Report (TR) that provides guidance on the physicochemical characterization of manufactured nano-objects prior to toxicological assessment. ISO TR 13014:2012, Nanotechnologies - Guidance on physicochemical characterization of engineered nanoscale materials for toxicologic assessment, is intended to assist health scientists and experts to understand, plan, identify, and address relevant physicochemical characteristics of nano-objects before conducting toxicological tests on them.

Source : http://www.ansi.org/news_publications/news_story.aspx?menuid=7&articleid=3256

Worker Exposure to Crystalline Silica During Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”  is the process of injecting large volumes of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to break up shale formation allowing more efficient recovery of oil and gas.  This form of well stimulation has been used since the late 1940s, but has increased substantially over the last 10 years with the advent of horizontal drilling technology that greatly improves access to gas deposits in shale.  Approximately 435,000 workers were employed in the US oil and gas extraction industry in 2010; nearly half of those workers were employed by well servicing companies, which includes companies that conduct hydraulic fracturing (BLS).

Source : http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2012/05/silica-fracking/

Chemotherapy Drug Evaluation at a Veterinary Teaching Hospital

HHE Program investigators evaluated concerns about reproductive problems and hair loss at a veterinary teaching hospital. Employees thought these issues were associated with work-related exposures to chemotherapy drugs. Cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide were found in 4 of 44 surface wipe samples but were not found in air samples. Some employees reported symptoms that have been reported with occupational exposure to chemotherapy drugs but also have other causes. NIOSH investigators were unable to determine if the health effects reported by employees were work-related. Recommendations were made to managers regarding limiting employee access to the pharmacy, chemotherapy drug preparation room, and administration area. and using biological safety cabinets that do not recirculate exhaust air when preparing volatile chemotherapy drugs. Employees were encouraged to always wear the required personal protective equipment.

Source : http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2010-0068-3156.pdf

Evaluation of Eye and Respiratory Symptoms at a Poultry Processing Facility

HHE Program investigators evaluated symptoms at a poultry processing facility and found that employees who work in areas using super chlorinated water were more likely to report chest tightness, sneezing, dry eyes, blurry vision, and burning or itchy eyes in the previous month than employees who worked in areas that did not use super chlorinated water. Investigators recommended that managers maintain chlorine and other water chemistry parameters within established guidelines and find a more accurate and timely way to monitor the super chlorinated water. Although the ventilation in the building followed guidelines for air flowing from clean to dirty areas, the air flow pattern was not done via positive pressure ventilation. Investigators recommended that positive pressure ventilation be used to achieve appropriate air flow patterns.

Source : http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2007-0284-0317-3155.pdf

SUBSPORT – A European tool for substitution of dangerous substances at work

There is an urgent need to phase out harmful chemicals and replace them with safer alternatives or techniques to reduce adverse health effects and environmental pollution. SUBSPORT, the Substitution Support Portal, is a free-of-charge multilingual web portal providing tools and guidance for substance evaluation and substitution management.
On 24th May 2012, the case story database presenting practical real-case examples of companies and other stakeholders that have done successful substitution work will be launched at the ECHA stakeholder forum in Helsinki.

Source : http://osha.europa.eu/en/news/eu-subsport-2013-a-european-tool-for-substitution-of-dangerous-substances-at-work-2013-launch-of-the-case-study-database

Effects of Paternal Occupation Exposure to Formaldehyde on Reproductive Outcomes

Objective: To investigate whether paternal occupational exposure to formaldehyde (FA) affects the reproductive outcomes.
Methods: Data were collected from 302 male workers occupationally exposed to FA and 305 referent controls through interview questionnaires. Formaldehyde exposure level was measured and calculated for every subject. Different reproductive outcomes were compared for two groups by logistic regression analyses.
Results: A significant increased risk of prolonged time to pregnancy (P = 0.034; odds ratio, 2.828; 95% confidence interval, 1.081 to 7.406) and significant elevated risk of spontaneous abortion (P = 0.021; odds ratio, 1.916; 95% confidence interval, 1.103 to 3.329) were observed in wives of male workers occupationally exposed to FA after correction for confounding factors. Moreover, reproductive toxicity due to FA exposure is dose dependent.
Conclusions: This epidemiological study adds some evidence for the hypothesis that paternal FA occupation exposure has adverse effects on reproductive outcomes.

Source : Wang, Hai-xu PhD; Zhou, Dang-xia PhD; Zheng, Lie-rui MSc; Zhang, Jing MSc; Huo, Yong-wei PhD; Tian, Hong PhD; Han, Shui-ping BSc; Zhang, Jian BSc; Zhao, Wen-bao BSc. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: May 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 5 - p 518–524.

Pulmonary Function Reductions Among Potentially Susceptible Subgroups of Agricultural Workers in Colorado and Nebraska

Objective: Organic dust inhalation has been associated with adverse respiratory responses among agricultural workers. We evaluated factors that may confer increased susceptibility to these health effects.
Methods: We quantified personal work shift exposures to inhalable dust, endotoxin, and its 3-hydroxy fatty acid constituents, and evaluated changes in pulmonary function among 137 grain elevator, cattle feedlot, dairy, and corn farm workers.
Results: Increased dust exposure was associated with work shift reductions in lung function. Although interpretation is limited because of small samples, a suggestion of stronger exposure–response relationships was observed among smokers, as well as workers reporting pesticide/herbicide application, asthma, or allergies, and those with genetic polymorphisms (TLR4) (Pinteraction ≤ 0.05).
Conclusions: A better understanding of factors leading to increased susceptibility of adverse respiratory outcomes is needed to optimize exposure reduction strategies and develop more comprehensive wellness programs.

Source : Reynolds, Stephen J. PhD, CIH; Clark, Maggie L. PhD; Koehncke, Niels MD; von Essen, Susanna MD, MPH; Prinz, Linda MSN, RN; Keefe, Thomas J. PhD; Mehaffy, John MS; Bradford, Mary; Cranmer, Brian MS; Davidson, Margaret E. PhD; Yang, Ivana V. PhD; Burch, James B. PhD. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: May 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 5 - p 632–641.

Éléments de faisabilité pour un dispositif de surveillance épidémiologique des travailleurs exposés aux nanomatériaux intentionnellement produits

Alerté par la possibilité d'un impact sur la santé humaine de l'exposition aux nanomatériaux, le ministère français du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé a demandé à l'Institut de veille sanitaire (InVS), soutenu par un groupe de travail interdisciplinaire constitué par l'Institut de Recherche en Santé publique (IReSP), d'évaluer la faisabilité d'un système de surveillance épidémiologique des travailleurs susceptibles d'être exposés à des nanomatériaux artificiels. Un rapport a été élaboré en réponse à cette demande, lequel dresse un inventaire des nombreuses incertitudes inhérentes à ce sujet, telles que la question de la définition, le large éventail de nanomatériaux, l'identification des problèmes de santé qui pourraient être contrôlés, l'enregistrement et la collaboration des entreprises et les travailleurs susceptibles d'être concernés par les nanomatériaux, ainsi que les problèmes de métrologie.

Source : http://osha.europa.eu/fr/news/fr-feasibility-of-an-epidemiological-surveillance-system-for-workers-exposed-to-engineered-nanomaterials

Exposition professionnelle aux nanoparticules

Un nouveau guide INRS/Ineris/CEA sur les nanomatériaux
Dans le cadre du plan Nano-INNOV, un groupe de travail composé de l'INERIS, du CEA et de l'INRS a élaboré un guide méthodologique pour aider les préventeurs à caractériser, dans une ambiance de travail, les potentiels d'émission de nanoparticules lors d'opérations mettant en œuvre des nanomatériaux. Ces recommandations décrivent le mode opératoire d'une meilleure évaluation des expositions professionnelles aux nanoparticules pour renforcer la sécurité et préserver la santé des opérateurs.

Source : http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/footer/presse/cp-exposition-professionnelle-particules.html

Guide : http://www.hst.fr/inrs-pub/inrs01.nsf/IntranetObject-accesParReference/HST_ND%202355/$File/ND2355.pdf

Résultats des analyses de substances chimiques produites à l’IRSST pour chaque région administrative du ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux pour la période 2001-2008

Une activité précédente (099-553), entreprise en 2006, a exploité la banque de données des résultats d'analyses réalisées par les laboratoires de l'IRSST de 2001 à 2005 pour déterminer les substances chimiques présentes en fortes concentrations dans les entreprises québécoises. Elle a mené notamment à la publication de plusieurs rapports et de données sectorielles. Il s'agit cette fois de compléter ce travail et de produire des données à jour en ce qui concerne l'hygiène et la surveillance biologique de l'exposition en exploitant pour la première fois les données toxicologiques existantes. Les chercheurs prévoient produire six rapports en 2008. De telles études sur l'interprétation de données provenant des laboratoires de l'Institut ont déjà permis d'influencer des priorités stratégiques et opérationnelles en matière de santé et de sécurité du travail. Elles ont aussi fourni une information précieuse sur les besoins de recherche dans le champ des substances chimiques et des agents biologiques.

Source : http://www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-resultats-des-analyses-de-substances-chimiques-produites-a-irsst-pour-chaque-region-administrative-du-ministere-de-la-sante-et-des-services-sociaux-pour-la-periode-2001-2008-r-731.html

Sensitization and chronic beryllium disease at a primary manufacturing facility

Part 1: historical exposure reconstruction
Objectives : Previous epidemiologic studies of beryllium sensitization (BeS) and chronic beryllium disease (CBD) have reported inconsistent exposure–response relationships, likely due to exposure misclassification. The objective of this study was to develop historical estimates of size-selective personal exposure to beryllium for an epidemiologic study.
Methods : In 1999, a cross-sectional survey of workers hired after 1 January 1994 was conducted at a beryllium
production facility. Personal exposure data from two air sampling surveys conducted in 1999 were used to obtain total, respirable, and submicron particle baseline exposure estimates (BEE) for a job-exposure matrix (JEM). General area air samples collected from 1994–1999 were used to estimate annual changes in exposures (temporal factors) for 24 different process areas. Historical exposure estimates (HEE) were calculated by applying
the temporal factors to the BEE. Workers were assigned HEE based on their work history, and their historical exposure profile was summarized as cumulative, average, or highest-ever job exposure.
Results : Changes in exposure over a 6-year period were observed in 10 of the 24 process areas with an overall mean decline of 18% per year. The overall total exposure for study participants over their work tenure ranged from: 0.001–34.44 μg/m3-year, 0.01–16.26 μg/m3, and 0.01–17.54 μg /m3 for cumulative, average, and highest-ever job, respectively. For respirable exposures, the ranges were: 0.001–15.54 μg/m3-year, 0.01–3.56 μg/m3, 0.01–5.54 μg /m3 for cumulative, average, and highest-ever job, respectively.
Conclusions : Using this JEM, exposure–response relationships for BeS and CBD can be explored over a range of exposure metrics such as total, respirable, and submicron beryllium mass concentrations, including summary measures such as cumulative, average, or highest exposures, with the ultimate objective of elucidating a quantitative exposure–response relationship.

Source : Virji MA, Park JY, Stefaniak AB, Stanton ML, Day GA, Kent MS, Kreiss K, Schuler CR. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2012; 38(3): 247-258.

Substances cancérogènes

Portrait de l’exposition des travailleurs québécois
La liste des substances et conditions de travail associées à un risque élevé de cancer en milieu de travail ne cesse d’augmenter et la CSST a placé les substances cancérogènes parmi les priorités de son plan de mise en œuvre 2008-2010. L’IRSST travaille depuis des années sur certains cancérogènes avérés (selon le Centre international de recherche sur le cancer), tels que le béryllium et la silice. Cependant, afin de prioriser les besoins de recherche, il faut connaître l’ampleur du problème, dresser un état de la question en termes d’exposition aux substances et de circonstances d’exposition.
L’objectif de ce projet est d’estimer la proportion de travailleurs québécois exposés à des substances cancérogènes avérées ou probables et le nombre d’établissements impliqués, par secteur d’activité économique. Lorsque l’information sera disponible, les estimés seront présentés selon le sexe et le groupe d’âge des travailleurs. Les données proviendront des analyses de laboratoire et d’autres bases de données disponibles à l’IRSST, d’enquêtes québécoises sur la santé, de l’information colligée dans le projet CAREX Canada (Surveillance de l’exposition aux agents cancérogènes en milieu de travail et dans l’environnement pour la prévention du cancer) et d’autres bases de données internationales.

Source : http://www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-substances-cancerogenes-portrait-de-exposition-des-travailleurs-quebecois-r-732.html

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