2013-01-01 12:00 - Messages

A fatal case of CO(2) intoxication in a fermentation tank

Carbon dioxide (CO(2) ) is an odorless constituent of air. Higher concentrations can be detected in geothermal and automotive emissions, fermentation, and sublimation of dry ice. An unskilled worker entered a fermentation tank to clean it, which had not been done for about 5 months allowing for high concentrations of CO(2) to build up. A second worker entered the tank to rescue the first one. Shortly after both were found the first worker was rescued directly whereas the tank had to be rotated to pull the second worker out. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was successful only for the first worker. Medico-legal autopsy showed bruises, hematoma, myocardial hemorrhage, and edema of the lungs. The right lung was vacuum degassed in an argon atmosphere and quadrupole-mass-spectrometry showed an elevated CO(2) content in lung gases. Thus, CO(2) intoxication/asphyxia in a vitiated atmosphere due to fermentation of wine mash was established as the cause of death.

Source : Kettner M, Ramsthaler F, Juhnke C, Bux R, Schmidt P. J. A fatal case of CO(2) intoxication in a fermentation tank Forensic Sci. 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.12058



TR 116 : Category approaches, read-across, (Q)SAR

An accepted practice for the assessment of human health and environmental safety of chemicals is the use of models and analogues to fill data gaps for specific endpoints either for single or multiple chemicals that share structural similarities, and/or comparable reactivity or similarities in metabolism in mammals, fish and other organisms.  For example, this approach is acceptable, with limitations, in preparing dossiers for REACH, and it supports efforts for reducing animal testing.  The OECD has published guidance on the formation and use of chemical categories for data gap filling.  An ECETOC Task Force recently produced TR 109: High information content technologies in support of read-across in chemical risk assessment; a project that has highlighted methods for read-across.

With the plethora of models and guidance growing for both human health and the environment, it would be prudent to identify recommended practices.  Additionally, the 2013 and 2018 REACH deadlines are pending; these deadlines require lower volume producers and importers to submit chemical safety assessments.  A report describing recommended practices in this area would be useful in supporting industry's risk characterisation and prioritisation activities across all sectors. To this end, an ECETOC Task Force of industry and regulatory experts on categorisation methods, read-across and the use of (Q)SAR in risk assessment has prepared Technical Report No. 116: Category approaches, read-across, (Q)SAR.

Source : http://www.ecetoc.org/index.php?mact=MCSoap,cntnt01,details,0&cntnt01by_category=22&cntnt01order_by=date%20Desc&cntnt01template=display_list_v2&cntnt01display_template=display_details_v2&cntnt01document_id=6755&cntnt01returnid=59

Females Welding and the Unborn Child

The number of women in Canada employed as welders and participating in welding apprenticeship programs is growing. However, little is known about the effects of exposure to metals and other welding tasks on women’s fertility and pregnancy. This project examined the feasibility of conducting a cohort study of female welders, and developed tools to assess workplace exposure and reproductive outcomes.

Source :


Expositions multiples : le cumul nuit à la santé

Un dossier sur les expositions multiples est paru dans le dernier numéro de la revue Travail et sécurité. Les salariés sont quotidiennement confrontés à des expositions multiples dont les effets combinés potentiels sont peu connus. Les préventeurs doivent néenmoins s'emparer de la question afin d'adopter des stratégies adaptées à la réalité du terrain. Un travail pour lequel il est nécessaire de référer les expertises dans des domaines divers : chimie, physique, toxicologie, ergonomie. 

Source : Travail et sécurité, no 735, janvier 2013-01-10

The co-exposure to noise and a mixture of solvents has an additive effect in the prevalence of hypertension

The aim of this study was to investigate interaction of noise and mixed organic solvents on blood pressure. Biological interaction of two variables on hypertension was calculated using the synergistic index. The results indicate that exposure to noise or a mixture of organic solvents may be associated with the prevalence of hypertension in car manufacturing company workers and co-exposure to noise and a mixture of solvents has an additive effect in this regard. Therefore appropriate preventive programs in these workers recommended.

Source : Mirsaeed Attarchi et al. Combined effects of exposure to occupational noise and mixed organic solvents on blood pressure in car manufacturing company workers. Am. J. Ind. Med. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22086


Birth defects linked to solvent exposures

Exposure to organic solvents during pregnancy increases the risk of certain types of birth defects, a new study indicates. Researchers found mothers with greater exposure were 4 to 12 times more likely to have babies with oral clefts than mothers with less exposure. Metabolites of two large classes of organic solvents - glycol ethers and chlorinated solvents - were linked to occupational use of cleaners and cosmetics in jobs such as hairdressers, chemists and nurses. Exposures at work are commonplace as solvents are present in many paints, adhesives, glues, coatings and are used as degreasing and cleaning agents. They also are used to produce dyes, polymers, plastics, textiles, printing inks, agricultural products and pharmaceuticals. This case-control study enrolled women in the second trimester of pregnancy in Brittany, France, from 2002-2006. The women were asked about their contact with 11 classes of products containing certain solvents from work, home or hobbies and about their occupation. They also provided a urine sample that was tested for 10 metabolites of glycol ethers and chlorinated solvents. The authors assessed exposures three ways: self-reported by the women, the tasks the women performed at work and levels of metabolites measured in the urine samples. Using either self-reporting or job classification, the more a pregnant women was exposed to solvents the more likely it was that her baby would have certain birth defects. Women who reported regular exposure to solvents were four times more likely to have a baby with an oral cleft compared to women who did not report regular exposure. Using job classifications, exposed women were 12 times more likely to have a baby with an oral cleft as compared to unexposed women.

Source : Cordier, S, R Garlantézec, L Labat, F Rouget, C Monfort, N Bonvallot, B Roig, J Pulkkinen, C Chevrier and L Multigner. Exposure during pregnancy to glycol ethers and chlorinated solvents and the risk of congenital malformations. Epidemiology, volume 23, number 6 pages 806-12, 2012. http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/2012/10/2012-1207-solvents-pregnancy-raises-birth-defects-risk/ 

Association Between Pulmonary Dysfunction as a Result of Occupational Exposures and Risk of Developing Cancer

Background: Cohen's hypothesis states that pulmonary dysfunction is the underlying unifying factor that leads to numerous health risks of inhaled toxicants.
Objective: To test the idea postulated by Cohen. Methods: We compiled a retrospective cohort (n = 8024) composed of participants in eight population-based research and occupational studies conducted between 1977 and 1989. Smoking history, occupational exposures, health indicators, and demographic information were obtained by questionnaire. Pulmonary function was assessed by spirometry. Results: Cox proportional hazards models were utilized to test the Cohen's hypothesis. Risk of developing cancer increased (hazard ratio, 1.31; 95% confidence interval, 1.02 to 1.67) if a subject had an obstructive pulmonary disease at baseline. Conclusion: Impaired lung function caused by environmental and occupational exposures is one of the risk factors for the incidence of cancer.

Source : Pahwa, Punam; Karunanayake, Chandima P.; Dosman, James A. Association Between Pulmonary Dysfunction as a Result of Occupational Exposures and Risk of Developing Cancer. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, December 2012, Vol. 54 - Issue 12, p.1471–1480. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182623095

New website on site work and silica

The US based Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), has launched a 'Work safely with silica' website. CPWR, an organisation working closely with US construction unions, says as well as giving details of US silica regulation and official research, the new resource includes other research, articles, and training materials, as well as responses to frequently asked questions. Central features of the new site include a 'Know the hazard' section, geared for anyone interested in learning more about why silica is hazardous, the risk, who's at risk, the health effects, and steps workers and contractors can take to work safely with silica. Exposure to silica is linked to serious and potentially fatal occupational diseases, notably silicosis and lung cancer.

Source : http://www.silica-safe.org/

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