2012-11-01 12:00 - Messages

Two reproduction toxicity evaluations – Chloramphenicol and indium and its compounds

The Health Council of the Netherlands has reviewed chloramphenicol and indium compounds. Indium is used in bearings for cars and aircrafts, in solders and low-melting alloys, and in nuclear reactor control rods. Indium and its compounds, including indium antimonide (InSb), indium arsenide (InAs), and indium phosphide (InP), find application in semiconductor devices, transistors, and transistor materials. Indium oxide is used for colouring glass. Indium sulphate is used in electroplating, and radioisotopes of indium and indium compounds (including indium trichloride) are employed in the treatment of cancer and in diagnostic imaging of body organs. For a number of endpoints there is insufficient data for classification.

Source : http://osha.europa.eu/en/news/nl-two-reproduction-toxicity-evaluations-2013-chloramphenicol-and-indium-and-its-compounds?sourceid=rss&utm_source=home&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rssfeeds



Mesothelioma Associated With Commercial Use of Vermiculite Containing Libby Amphibole

Objectives: To describe asbestos-related mortality among manufacturing workers who expanded and processed Libby vermiculite that contained amphibole fiber. Methods: Standardized mortality ratio was calculated for 465 white male workers 31 years after last Libby vermiculite exposure. Results: Two workers died from mesothelioma, resulting in a significantly increased standardized mortality ratio of 10.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.3 to 38.0). These workers were in the upper 10th percentile of cumulative fiber exposure, that is, 43.80 and 47.23 fiber-years/cm3, respectively. One additional worker with cumulative fiber exposure of 5.73 fiber-years/cm3 developed mesothelioma but is not deceased. There were no other significantly increased standardized mortality ratios. Conclusions: Workers expanding and processing Libby vermiculite in a manufacturing setting demonstrated an increased risk for the development of mesothelioma following exposure to the amphibole fiber contained within this vermiculite ore source. 

Source : Dunning, K.K., Adjei, S., Levin, L., Rohs, A. M., Hilbert, T., Borton, E., Kapil, V., Rice, C., LeMasters, G.K., Lockey, J.E., Mesothelioma Associated With Commercial Use of Vermiculite Containing Libby Amphibole, Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Nov. 2012, vol. 54, no 11, p. 1359-1363. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0b013e318250b5f5

Exposure Estimates for Workers in a Facility Expanding Libby Vermiculite

Updated Values and Comparison With Original 1980 Values

Objective: Low cumulative fiber exposure (CFE) has been associated with health effects in a cohort exposed to Libby vermiculite. This study refines the original 1980 exposure estimates and compares the CFE results. Methods: Cumulative fiber exposure estimates were developed using three times more industrial hygiene measurements and long-term workers' input. New adjustments included vermiculite ore source, seasonal overtime hours, time spent in various tasks, and recollection of historical dustiness. Results: The overall mean (95% confidence interval) CFE (n = 513) in 1980 (0.80 [0.69 to 0.93]) was statistically similar to the overall mean (95% confidence interval) CFE in 2010 (0.74 [0.61 to 0.90]). The mean CFE in the lowest exposure category (<2 fiber-years/cm3) decreased from 0.36 to 0.22 fiber-years/cm3 (P < 0.05). The 2010 CFE estimate extended the upper bound of the range of previous estimates from 28.10 to 106.31 fiber-years/cm3. Conclusions: The range of CFE values was expanded. These estimates may impact the understanding of Libby vermiculite health outcomes.

Source : Borton, E.K., LeMasters, G.K., Hilbert, T.J., Lockey, J.E., Dunning, K.K., Rice, C.H., Exposure Estimates for Workers in a Facility Expanding Libby Vermiculite: Updated Values and Comparison With Original 1980 Values, Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, nov., vol. 54, no 11, p. 1350–1358. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0b013e31824fe174

Filling the Knowledge Gaps for Safe Nanotechnology in the Workplace

A Progress Report from the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center, 2004–2011. This 2012 update presents the program accomplishments of the NTRC from its inception in 2004 through 2011. It includes an analysis of the progress made toward accomplishing the goals and objectives of the NIOSH Strategic Plan for Nanotechnology Research and toward addressing the goals and research needs identified in the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) research strategy.

Source :


Practice recommendations in the diagnosis, management and prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is common in modern society, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality in the United States annually. Over the past two decades, sufficient information has been published about carbon monoxide poisoning in the medical literature to draw firm conclusions about many aspects of the pathophysiology, diagnosis and clinical management of the syndrome, along with evidence-based recommendations for optimal clinical practice. This article provides clinical practice guidance to the pulmonary and critical care community with regard to the diagnosis, management and prevention of acute CO poisoning. The paper represents the consensus opinion of four recognized content experts in the field. Supporting data were drawn from the published, peer-reviewed literature on CO poisoning, placing emphasis on selecting studies that most closely mirror clinical practice.

Source : Hampson NB, Piantadosi CA, Thom SR, Weaver LK. Practice recommendations in the diagnosis, management and prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning, Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2012; ePub, 


Europe: Chemicals watchdog is failing on REACH

European companies are failing to produce the legally required information on the chemicals they use and the watchdog that should be making them comply is not doing so, new evidence suggests. A report from the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and ClientEarth says the chemical industry has largely failed to provide the necessary data to make the REACH chemical safety law work, adding the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has allowed them to get away with it.

The report was released ahead of the European Commission's anticipated report on ECHA's performance. REACH is based on two key legal principles - 'no data, no market' and 'one substance, one registration'. However, the new research found that both of these principles are routinely ignored in the registration of substances, said co-author of the report Christian Schaible at EEB. Co-author Vito Buonsante of ClientEarth added: 'ECHA has already acknowledged that many substances have been inappropriately registered as intermediates by industry in order to avoid information requirements, but our investigation found that on top of this the industry has by and large failed to submit all available test data on substances, as required by REACH. However ECHA is doing little to prevent industry from doing so and is complacent in its compliance checks. Furthermore ECHA is dedicating too little time to work towards the substitution and phase out of hazardous chemicals which European citizens are exposed to every day.' The report says ECHA is shrouded in a culture of secrecy and is under pressure from the chemicals industry which cites 'business confidentiality' as a means to prevent important information being released.

Source: European Environmental Bureau (EEB). Identifying the bottlenecks in REACH implementation - the role of ECHA in REACH's failing implementation. http://www.eeb.org/EEB/?LinkServID=53B19853-5056-B741-DB6B33B4D1318340

Radiation Sources in Natural Gas Well Activities

More attention and monitoring of occupational radiation exposure in the natural gas industry are warranted.

The boom in the natural gas industry across the nation, made possible by recent advances in hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") methodology, has resulted in increased concern for public and environmental safety. This, in turn, has resulted in a series of recommendations for minimizing the risk to the public and the environment (Secretary of Energy, 2011). The natural gas industry has responded to environmental concerns by cleaning and recycling frack water, which can take the form of settling bins, filters, and reverse osmosis devices, among other practices.
The very practices that are meant to minimize the environmental impact of fracking on the surrounding area may have significant negative impacts on the workers employed at these facilities. The risk is from exposure to increased concentrations of ionizing radiation, which is naturally present in the ground in the forms of radium, thorium, uranium, lead, and/or radon (Horn, 2009; EPA, 2011). Until recently, the occupational risk of exposure to radioactive material has been largely ignored. The secretary of Energy's 2009 final report mentioned the potential for radioactive isotopes only once in the 23-page report. However, the study by Horn (2009) and subsequent investigations by The New York Times (Urbina, 2011) have resulted in more attention to the matter by the Department of Energy (DOE) (McMahon, 2011).

Investigation of techniques to discriminate between TDI and TDA exposures in biological samples

Isocyanates continue to be one of the leading causes of occupational asthma in the UK and biological monitoring (BM) is a valuable tool in assessing exposure to them. BM for toluene diisocyanate (TDI) is based on the measurement of toluene diamine (TDA) in urine after acid hydrolysis of any conjugates (‘total TDA’). The work described here has shown some progress in being able to differentiate between TDA and TDI exposures through the analysis of urine samples. Although none of the outcomes are conclusive, there are some tests that can be applied to positive ‘total TDA’ samples to determine the most likely exposure source. Detection of free TDA is likely to indicate TDA exposure rather than TDI exposure. This technique is limited to samples where the ‘total TDA’ level exceeds about 30 nmol/l. Where a more definitive assessment of exposure to TDI is required, the measurement of TDI-specific lysine conjugates is possible. Currently this would require blood samples to achieve the necessary sensitivity although we have detected this metabolite in urine. This is an area for further work. These techniques also have application for other isocyanate exposures.

Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr947.pdf

A Road Map Toward a Globally Harmonized Approach for Occupational Health Surveillance and Epidemiology in Nanomaterial Workers

Objective: Few epidemiological studies have addressed the health of workers exposed to novel manufactured nanomaterials. The small current workforce will necessitate pooling international cohorts. Method: A road map was defined for a globally harmonized framework for the careful choice of materials, exposure characterization, identification of study populations, definition of health endpoints, evaluation of appropriateness of study designs, data collection and analysis, and interpretation of the results.Results: We propose a road map to reach global consensus on these issues. The proposed strategy should ensure that the costs of action are not disproportionate to the potential benefits and that the approach is pragmatic and practical. Conclusions: We should aim to go beyond the collection of health complaints, illness statistics, or even counts of deaths; the manifestation of such clear endpoints would indicate a failure of preventive measures.

Source : Riediker, M., Schubauer-Berigan, M. K., Brouwer, D. H., Nelissen, I., Koppen, G., Frijns, E., Clark, K.A. , Hoeck, J., Liou, S.-H., Ho, S.F., Bergamaschi, E., Gibson, R. A Road Map Toward a Globally Harmonized Approach for Occupational Health Surveillance and Epidemiology in Nanomaterial Workers. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, October 2012, vol. 54, no 10, p. 1214–1223

Transporteurs routiers de matières dangereuses : les pratiques organisationnelles de sécurité

L’activité industrielle nécessite la fabrication et l’utilisation de matières dangereuses, mais aussi le transport de celles-ci. Ce projet avait deux volets: 1) l’analyse des stratégies logistiques des entreprises et la réalisation d’une enquête afin d’évaluer les mesures de sécurité mises en place et 2) l’analyse économique des secteurs utilisant ou transportant des matières dangereuses.

Source : http://www.irsst.qc.ca/media/documents/PubIRSST/R-751.pdf

Les réseaux sans fils de proximité : champs électromagnétiques

Cette fiche :
- présente et décrit les principales technologies utilisées dans les réseaux sans fil de proximité ;
- donne les valeurs de niveaux de champs électriques mesurés à proximité de matériels typiques et les valeurs de références définies par la recommandation du Conseil 1999/519/CE du 12 juillet 1999 (relative à la limitation de l'exposition du public aux champs électromagnétiques) et 2004/40/CE du 29 avril 2004 (relatives à l'exposition des travailleurs) sur les risques liés aux champs électromagnétiques ;
- informe les utilisateurs sur les effets des champs électromagnétiques sur l'homme et expose la conduite à tenir à proximité de ce type d'installation.

Source : http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/produits/mediatheque/doc/publications.html?refINRS=ED%204207

Risk of carbon monoxide release during the storage of wood pellets

The HSE is issuing this notice to those who use, install, maintain or distribute wood pellet boilers or manufacture/store/distribute wood pellets. Since 2002 there have been at least nine fatalities in Europe caused by carbon monoxide poisoning following entry into wood pellet storage areas. Although there have not been any incidents so far in the UK the use of wood pellets is increasing and awareness of this danger is required. Wood pellet boilers are used in homes and businesses as an alternative to oil or gas fired boilers. They are also being installed to replace coal-fired boilers, particularly in schools. Carbon monoxide can kill quickly without warning. It is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that is highly toxic. When carbon monoxide enters the body, it prevents the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs

Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/co-wood-pellets.htm?eban=rss-

Cal/OSHA Issues Alert on Ammonia Safety at Wineries

The alert cites a September 2012 fatality that is under investigation.

A recent hazard alert posted by California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, reminds workers and managers at the state’s wineries about the dangers of anhydrous ammonia, which is used under pressure as a liquefied refrigerant. A worker died in September 2012 in an incident involving it, and the alert says the incident is still under investigation to find the root causes.

The document describes NH3 as a corrosive to the skin, eyes, and lungs, even at low concentrations in air. Exposure to 300 ppm is immediately dangerous to life and health.

Source : http://ohsonline.com/articles/2012/11/02/alert-on-ammonia-safety-at-wineries.aspx


Mesure de concentrations dans les conduits de transport de polluants particulaires

Dans l'industrie, de nombreux postes de travail générateurs de polluants particulaires sont équipés de dispositifs de ventilation chargés de capter tout ou partie des particules émises et de les éliminer via un dispositif d'épuration adapté. La qualité de l'évaluation de ces dispositifs est étroitement associée aux conditions de prélèvement en conduit et au type d'appareil de mesure utilisé. Dans cette étude, huit appareils de mesure et six configurations de prélèvement couramment mises en pratique in situ sont comparés en banc d'essai, en présence de deux types d'aérosol, un synthétique et un naturel. Les mesures sont effectuées dans une gamme de concentration variant de 1 mg/m3 à 8 mg/m3. Les appareils à lecture directe basés sur le comptage de particules montrent des réponses très différenciées suivant le type d'appareil et l'aérosol en jeu. En revanche, un appareil de mesure en continu de concentration massique donne des résultats comparables aux techniques classiques de mesure par gravimétrie. Les six configurations d'essai choisies, testées dans des conditions d'essai comparables, montrent des incidences sur la concentration en conduit variant de 10 % à 50 %. Par ailleurs, les installations et la méthodologie développée au cours de cette étude sont dès à présent des outils pérennes permettant le contrôle des différents appareils destinés au prélèvement en conduit de particules de différentes natures.

Source : Régnier, R., Bemer, D., Morele, Y. Mesure de concentrations dans les conduits de transport de polluants particulaires, INRS, 2012, (Note documentaire 2363). 10 p. http://www.hst.fr/inrs-pub/inrs01.nsf/IntranetObject-accesParReference/HST_ND%202363/$File/ND2363.pdf



Development of analytical methods for low molecular weight isocyanates in workplace air: Part 2 – Isocyanic Acid and Methyl Isocyanate

Monoisocyanates cause irritation to the eyes, skin and respiratory system. Existing methods for the determination of isocyanates were developed primarily to detect large di-isocyanate molecules and the analytical techniques employed are such that low molecular weight mono-isocyanates are not detected. The current work describes a modified detection method that enables separation, and therefore quantification, of mono isocyanates. This modified method can be applied to suitable samples to enable an assessment of the contribution of monoisocynates (isocyanic acid and methyl isocyanate) to the total concentration of isocyanates in workplace air.

Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr943.pdf


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