2013-03-01 12:00 - Messages

NIOSH Alert - Preventing Occupational Respiratory Disease from Exposures caused by Dampness in Office Buildings, Schools and Other Non-Industrial Buildings

Office buildings, schools, and other non-industrial buildings may develop moisture and dampness problems from roof and window leaks, high indoor humidity, and flooding events, among other things. This CDC-NIOSH Alert contains recommendations regarding building design and use.
For this Alert, CDC defines "dampness" as the presence of unwanted and excessive moisture in buildings. Research studies have shown that dampness-related exposures from building dampness and mould have been associated with respiratory symptoms, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, rhinosinusitis, bronchitis, and respiratory infections in research studies. Individuals with asthma or hypersensitivity pneumonitis may be at risk for progression to more severe disease if the relationship between illness and exposure to the damp building is not recognized and exposures continue.

Source : http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-102/pdfs/2013-102.pdf

Chemical Exposure among Professional Ski Waxers — Characterization of Individual Work Operations

Background: Preparation of skis prior to skiing competitions involves several individual work operations and the use of a wide variety of chemically based ski waxing products to improve the performance of the skis, including products used after skiing for wax removal and ski sole cleaning. Modern ski waxes consist mainly of petroleum-derived straight-chain aliphatic hydrocarbons, perfluoro-n-alkanes or polyfluorinated n-alkanes. The wax cleaning products contain solvents such as neat aliphatic hydrocarbons (aliphates) or a mixture with limonene. Different ski waxing work operations can result in contaminated workroom atmospheres. Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the chemical exposures related to the individual ski waxing work operations by investigating the specific work operations in controlled model experiments. Methods: Four main work operations with potential exposures were identified: (i) application of glider waxes, (ii) scraping and brushing of applied glider waxes, (iii) application of base/grip waxes, and (iv) ski sole cleaning. Aerosol particle masses were sampled using conical samplers equipped with 37-mm PVC, 5-µm pore size filters and cyclones equipped with 37-mm PVC, 0.8-µm pore size filters for the inhalable and the respirable aerosol mass fractions, respectively. For measurements of particle number concentrations, a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer was used.
Results: Mean aerosol particle mass concentrations of 18.6mg m−3 and 32.2mg m−3 were measured during application of glider wax powders in the respirable and in the inhalable aerosol mass fractions, respectively. Particle number concentration of ~900 000 particles cm−3 was measured during application of glider wax powder products. Ski sole cleaning with products containing aliphates displayed solvent air concentrations up to 62.5 p.p.m.
Conclusions: This study shows that the potential exposure to generated particles during ski waxing and ski preparation is considerable, especially during work using glide wax powders.

Source : Baard Ingegerdsson Freberg, Raymond Olsen, Syvert Thorud, Dag G. Ellingsen, Hanne Line Daae, Merete Hersson, and Paal Molander. Chemical Exposure among Professional Ski Waxers— Characterization of Individual Work Operations. Ann Occup Hyg (2013) 57(3): 286-295.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/annhyg/mes077

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis with Mycobacterium avium complex among spa workers

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) investigated the cause of two cases of hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) in spa maintenance workers with laboratory confirmed Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). The investigation occurred in tandem with worker protection and swimming pool regulatory investigations by the New Mexico Environment Department at the spa where the workers were employed. The investigation was conducted in order to identify unreported cases, exposure source(s), and to prevent further worker exposure.

Source: Moraga-McHaley, Stephanie Ann; Landen, Michael; Krapf, Heidi; Sewell, C Mack. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis with Mycobacterium avium complex among spa workers. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, Vol. 19, Number 1, March 2013, p. 55-61(7)


Measurement of Endotoxins in Bioaerosols at Workplace

Endotoxins are lipopolysaccharides found in the outer membrane of most Gram-negative bacteria and cyanobacteria. Worker exposure to endotoxins has been shown in a number of work situations and is associated with both respiratory and systemic pathologies. The lack of an occupational exposure limit is mainly due to the absence of a standard protocol at the international level for sampling and analyzing airborne endotoxins. The bibliographic review in this article takes an exhaustive look at the current knowledge on measuring airborne endotoxins. It shows that, despite several reference documents at the international level, the methods used to measure endotoxin exposure differ considerably from one laboratory to another. Standardization is necessary to reduce interlaboratory variability and, ultimately, to improve the use of interstudy data. The bibliographic review presents the current status of standardization for airborne endotoxin measurement methods in the workplace and summarizes areas for further research. This article is both a reference document for all operators wishing to use such methods and a working document to build international consensus around the measurement of airborne endotoxins.

Source : Duquenne, P., Geneviève Marchand, G., Duchaine, C. Measurement of Endotoxins in Bioaerosols at Workplace: A Critical Review of Literature and a Standardization Issue. Ann Occup Hyg (2013) 57 (2): 137-172. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/annhyg/mes051
Bioaerosols endotoxins LAL assay sampling and analysis standard method

Occupational exposure to lead and lung cancer: results from two case-control studies in Montreal, Canada

Objectives We investigated the association between workplace lead exposure and lung cancer risk, separately for organic lead and for inorganic lead, from either engine emissions or from other sources. Methods Two population-based case-control studies were carried out in Montreal (1979–1986 and 1996–2002) to investigate occupational factors in relation to lung cancer among 1593 men with histologically confirmed incident lung cancer, and 1426 controls from the general population. Interviews elicited information on sociodemographic characteristics, lifetime smoking and occupational history. Chemists translated each job into potential chemical exposures. Cumulative indices of exposure were derived and classified into non-substantial and substantial exposure. ORs adjusted for several potential confounders including smoking, and 95% CIs were estimated by logistic regression. Results Lifetime prevalences of exposure in Study I were 3% for organic lead, 40% for inorganic lead from engine emissions and 17% for inorganic lead from other sources; corresponding prevalences in Study II were 4%, 19% and 16%, respectively. No associations were observed when comparing ever to never exposed subjects in pooled analyses (organic lead, OR=1.39, 95% CI 0.77 to 2.52; inorganic lead from engine emissions: OR=0.89, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.09; inorganic lead from other sources: OR=0.99, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.29). Nor were these exposures associated with lung cancer in subjects with substantial cumulative exposure. Conclusions In this large study, using a blinded expert-based assessment of lifetime occupational exposure and adjustment for several potential confounders, we observed no increased risk of lung cancer with exposure to lead compounds.

Source : Willy Wynant, Jack Siemiatycki, Marie-Élise Parent, Marie-Claude Rousseau. Occupational exposure to lead and lung cancer: results from two case-control studies in Montreal, Canada. Occup Environ Med 2013;70:3 164-170. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2012-100931


Isocyanate exposure control in motor vehicle paint spraying: evidence from biological monitoring

Aims: The purpose of this work was to assess the changes in control of exposure to hexamethylene diisocyanate based paints used in vehicle spraying after a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) national project. Methods: Paint sprayers and managers from motor vehicle repair (MVR) bodyshops across the UK, were invited to one of 32 Safety and Health Awareness Days (SHADs) to increase their understanding of the hazards, and practical ways of controlling of exposure to isocyanate based paints. Exposure measurement based on biological monitoring was offered, free of charge, to each of the roughly 4000 participants and used to assess the effectiveness of controls and methods of working. Results are compared with pre and post SHAD measurements. Results: Urine samples were received from 995 paint sprayers. Hexamethylene diamine (HDA) levels in urine, indicative of exposure to hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI), were significantly lower (Mann-Whitney, p<0.0001) than had been seen in a wider population from previous HSE inspections and routine sampling. Where a sprayer’s urinary HDA was above the quantification limit they were asked to send another sample after reviewing and improving exposure control measures. The results from these repeat samples were significantly lower than the original results. There was no difference in the exposures of sprayers using air-fed half-mask face-pieces compared with visor type air-fed breathing apparatus, or between spray booths and rooms. Conclusions: The analysis of HDA in urine is a useful technique for assessing exposure to isocyanates in paint sprayers. The simplicity of this approach has allowed wide-scale use of biological monitoring in an industry dominated by small and micro businesses. Biological monitoring of exposure has enabled individual companies, and sprayers, to check that their control measures are working.
This study showed overall lower levels of HDA in paint sprayers following SHADs. These lower levels have been maintained across a wider population of UK paint sprayers over the succeeding years. Whilst there may be many reasons for the reduction in exposure, the weight of evidence suggests that the key messages about exposure control measures, delivered through the SHADs and other means, were influential.

Source :  Jones, K., Cocker, J., Piney, M. Isocyanate exposure control in motor vehicle paint spraying: evidence from biological monitoring. Ann Occup Hyg (2013) 57(2): 200-209. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/annhyg/mes056

Long-term efficacy of a program to prevent beryllium disease

Background In 2000, a manufacturer of beryllium materials and products introduced a comprehensive program to prevent beryllium sensitization and chronic beryllium disease (CBD). We assessed the program's efficacy in preventing sensitization 9 years after implementation. Methods Current and former workers hired since program implementation completed questionnaires and provided blood samples for the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT). Using these data, as well as company medical surveillance data, we estimated beryllium sensitization prevalence. Results Cross-sectional prevalence of sensitization was 0.7% (2/298). Combining survey results with surveillance results, a total of seven were identified as sensitized (2.3%). Early Program workers were more likely to be sensitized than Late Program workers; one of the latter was newly identified. All sensitization was identified while participants were employed. One worker was diagnosed with CBD during employment. Conclusions The combination of increased respiratory and dermal protection, enclosure and improved ventilation of high-risk processes, dust migration control, improved housekeeping, and worker and management education showed utility in reducing sensitization in the program's first 9 years. The low rate (0.6%, 1/175) among Late Program workers suggests that continuing refinements have provided additional protection against sensitization compared to the program's early years.

Source : Thomas, C. A., Deubner, D. C., Stanton, M. L., Kreiss, K. and Schuler, C. R. (2013), Long-term efficacy of a program to prevent beryllium disease. Am. J. Ind. Med.. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22175

Dustiness of Fine and Nanoscale Powders

Dustiness may be defined as the propensity of a powder to form airborne dust by a prescribed mechanical stimulus; dustiness testing is typically intended to replicate mechanisms of dust generation encountered in workplaces. A novel dustiness testing device, developed for pharmaceutical application, was evaluated in the dustiness investigation of 27 fine and nanoscale powders. The device efficiently dispersed small (mg) quantities of a wide variety of fine and nanoscale powders, into a small sampling chamber. Measurements consisted of gravimetrically determined total and respirable dustiness. The following materials were studied: single and multiwalled carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, and carbon blacks; fumed oxides of titanium, aluminum, silicon, and cerium; metallic nanoparticles (nickel, cobalt, manganese, and silver) silicon carbide, Arizona road dust; nanoclays; and lithium titanate. Both the total and respirable dustiness spanned two orders of magnitude (0.3–37.9% and 0.1–31.8% of the predispersed test powders, respectively). For many powders, a significant respirable dustiness was observed. For most powders studied, the respirable dustiness accounted for approximately one-third of the total dustiness. It is believed that this relationship holds for many fine and nanoscale test powders (i.e. those primarily selected for this study), but may not hold for coarse powders. Neither total nor respirable dustiness was found to be correlated with BET surface area, therefore dustiness is not determined by primary particle size. For a subset of test powders, aerodynamic particle size distributions by number were measured (with an electrical low-pressure impactor and an aerodynamic particle sizer). Particle size modes ranged from approximately 300nm to several micrometers, but no modes below 100nm, were observed. It is therefore unlikely that these materials would exhibit a substantial sub-100nm particle contribution in a workplace.

Source :  Evans, D.E., Turkevich, L.A., Roettgers, C.T., Deye, G.J., Baron, P.A. Ann Occup Hyg (2013) 57 (2): 261-277. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/annhyg/mes060


New database of Derived No-Effect Levels (DNELs) established under the REACH Regulation

The German Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) has launched a new database of  Derived No-Effect Levels (DNELs): the GESTIS DNEL database. This database has been set up upon request of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions and with their specialised support.

Source : http://dnel-en.itrust.de/nxt/gateway.dll/dnel_en/000000.xml?f=templates$fn=default.htm$vid=dneleng:ddbeng$3.0

Fatalities due to dichloromethane in paint strippers: A continuing problem

Background Exposure to dichloromethane (DCM or methylene chloride - CH2Cl2) in paint strippers continues to be an avoidable source of morbidity and mortality. DCM has been under regulatory scrutiny by occupational and consumer product agencies since the identification of its carcinogenicity in the mid-1980s. Methods We investigated two independent workplace incidents that resulted in three cases of DCM intoxication from paint stripper use. Results Each incident investigated resulted in a fatality. A third worker suffered obtundation requiring hospitalization and intubation. Conclusions The continued occurrence of fatalities and other serious injuries due to DCM-containing paint strippers in the United States calls for a re-evaluation of existing regulatory strategies.

Source : MacIsaac, J., Harrison, R., Krishnaswami, J., McNary, J., Suchard, J., Boysen-Osborn, M., Cierpich, H., Styles, L. and Shusterman, D. (2013), Fatalities due to dichloromethane in paint strippers: A continuing problem. Am. J. Ind. Med. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22167

Association between heat stress and occupational injury among Thai workers

Global warming will increase heat stress at home and at work. Few studies have addressed the health consequences in tropical low and middle income settings such as Thailand. We report on the association between heat stress and workplace injury among workers enrolled in the large national Thai Cohort Study in 2005 (N=58,495). We used logistic regression to relate heat stress and occupational injury separately for males and females, adjusting for covariate effects of age, income, education, alcohol, smoking, Body Mass Index, job location, job type, sleeping hours, existing illness, and having to work very fast. Nearly 20% of workers experienced occupational heat stress which strongly and significantly associated with occupational injury (adjusted OR 2.12, 95%CI 1.87-2.42 for males and 1.89, 95%CI 1.64-2.18 for females). This study provides evidence connecting heat stress and occupational injury in tropical Thailand and also identifies several factors that increase heat exposure. The findings will be useful for policy makers to consider work-related heat stress problems in tropical Thailand and to develop an occupational health and safety program which is urgently needed given the looming threat of global warming.

Source : Tawatsupa B, Yiengprugsawan V, Kjellstrom T, Berecki-Gisolf J, Seubsman SA, Sleigh A. Association between heat stress and occupational injury among Thai workers: findings of the Thai Cohort Study. Ind. Health 2013; 51(1): 34-46.


Pneumoconiosis and malignant mesothelioma in a family operated metal casting business that used industrial talc from New York State

Background The United States is second only to the People's Republic of China in annual talc production. U.S. talc is used in the production of ceramics, paint, paper, plastics, roofing, rubber, cosmetics, flooring, caulking, and agricultural applications. A number of U.S. talc deposits consistently contain talc intergrown with amphiboles such as tremolite and/or anthophyllite. It has long been recognized that miners and millers of talc deposits are at risk for pneumoconiosis and it has recently been reported that it is prudent, on the balance of probabilities, to conclude that dusts from New York State talc ores are capable of causing mesothelioma in exposed workers. This is a report of the diagnosis of pneumoconiosis and mesothelioma in a husband and wife who operated a small metal casting business that used industrial talc from New York as a parting agent. Methods Case reports, including medical records and exposure histories, were provided by an attorney who had also commissioned laboratory investigation of the industrial talc product used in the factory. Results Mrs X was diagnosed with pneumoconiosis characterized by interstitial fibrosis and heavily calcified pleural plaques. Mr X had calcified pleural plaques and developed a fatal pleural mesothelioma. Samples of the industrial talc contained fibrous tremolite and anthophyllite. Conclusions The author concludes that end users of industrial talc from New York State may be at risk of pneumoconiosis and malignant disease. End users of talcs from other regions of the United States, where talc formation arose from processes driven by regional metamorphism, might also be at risk.

Source : Finkelstein, M. M. (2013), Pneumoconiosis and malignant mesothelioma in a family operated metal casting business that used industrial talc from New York State. Am. J. Ind. Med. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22159


OSHA releases factsheet on working safely with nanomaterial

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha) has brought out a nanomaterials factsheet that lists potential hazards of nanomaterials, their exposure paths and the kind of information and training that employers should provide to workers who are likely to be exposed to the substances.

Source :



74% des artisans retraités du bâtiment ont été exposés à l’amiante

L’INVS (Institut de National de Veille Sanitaire) vient de dévoiler le premier volet de son étude consacrée au suivi post-professionnel des artisans nouvellement retraités. Le programme ESPrI (Épidémiologie et surveillance des professions indépendantes), développé par l’INVS en collaboration avec le RSI, comporte deux volets :

  • Le repérage des artisans retraités exposés à l’amiante afin de leur proposer un suivi médical post-professionnel (SPP)
  • La réalisation d’un suivi épidémiologique de cette population

Le volet SPP de ce programme vient d’être bouclé à travers une étude menée auprès de plus de 15 000 artisans ayant pris leur retraite entre 2004 et 2008 dans 7 régions. Un rapport complet détaillant les résultats de cette étude vient d’être publié. Ce rapport met en lumière les secteurs d’activité et professions les plus exposant à l’amiante. Sans surprise, c’est le secteur de la construction qui est considéré comme le plus exposant avec 96% des emplois concernés. La perception de l’exposition à l’amiante reste toutefois sous-estimée puisque parmi les retraités classés exposés par les experts associés à cette étude, 37% des hommes et 60% des femmes pensaient ne jamais avoir été exposés. Les résultats complets de cette étude vont permettre à la HAS (Haute Autorité de Santé) de publier de nouvelles recommandations sur le suivi post-professionnel amiante. Le programme a permis également d’estimer pour la première fois la prévalence de l’exposition professionnelle à l’amiante dans la population des artisans retraités et de la décrire selon les secteurs d’activité, ainsi que les durées moyennes d’exposition.

Source : http://www.preventica.com/actu-enbref-retraite-batiment-exposes-amiante-1280213.php

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