2013-09-01 12:00 - Messages

Are Operating Room Nurses at Higher Risk of Severe Persistent Asthma? The Nurses' Health Study

Objective: To assess the associations between operating room (OR) nursing, a category of health care workers at high risk of exposure to various inhaled agents, and asthma severity/control among women with asthma. Methods: The level of severity/control in nurses with prevalent doctor-diagnosed asthma in 1998/2000 was compared, using nominal logistic regression, in OR nursing (n = 69) and administrative nursing (n = 546) from the US Nurses' Health Study for whom detailed information on asthma and nursing employment status was available. Results: We observed a significant association between OR nursing, compared with administrative nursing, and severe persistent asthma (adjusted odds ratio, 2.48; 95% confidence interval, 1.06 to 5.77). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that nurses working in the OR are at a higher risk of severe persistent asthma. Further studies with detailed estimates of occupational exposures, especially to disinfectant/cleaning agents, are warranted.

Source : Le Moual, N.; Varraso, R. ; Zock, J.P.; Henneberger, P.; Speizer, F.E.;  Kauffmann, F. ; Camargo, C.A. Jr. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 
August 2013, Vol. 55 - No 8, p. 973–977. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0b013e318297325b

Nanosafety in Europe 2015-2025: towards safe and sustainable nanomaterials and nanotechnology innovations

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) has published a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) to introduce a strategic vision for future research on the safe use and safe applications of engineered nanomaterials (ENM). The time horizon for this document is 2015-2025. The SRA has been developed by members of the European NanoSafety Cluster, a forum for on-going Framework Programme (FP) 6 and FP7 projects covering all aspects of nanosafety. The document describes the current status and the research needs and priorities for the coming 10 years in four main thematic areas: 1.nanomaterial identification and classification; 2.nanomaterial exposure and transformation; 3.hazard mechanisms related to effects on human health and the environment; and 4.tools for the predictive risk assessment and management including databases and ontologies. The implementation of the SRA is expected to provide a major step forward in the development of safe and sustainable nanomaterials and outlines the focal points of nanomaterial safety research for the European Commission’s 8th Framework Programme (Horizon 2020).

Source : http://www.ttl.fi/en/publications/Electronic_publications/Nanosafety_in_europe_2015-2025/Documents/nanosafety_2015-2025.pdf

OSHA Proposes Silica Rule for Construction

After decades of discussion and bureaucratic red tape, OSHA finally issued a proposed standard to protect workers from silica on August 23, 2013. Occurring naturally as sand or quartz, silica is commonly used in a variety of industrial settings. It is a key component of concrete, and its dust is a long-recognized hazard for construction workers. When inhaled, it can cause silicosis, a progressive lung disease. In 1997, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) definitively labeled silica a cancer-causing agent. For decades, OSHA has maintained an exposure limit for silica, but it is way too high, out of date and uses an obsolete measurement method.

The proposed rule would reduce the allowable exposure limit to about one-fifth of what is currently allowed, but more importantly, OSHA is proposing a task-based control standard (as it has done with lead and asbestos) wherein certain operations known to produce high exposures will require the use of wet methods or local ventilation. These controls are known to significantly reduce exposures.

Source : Life Lines online, Sept. 2013, Vol. 10, No. 4.http://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm?objectID=BB569257-C16A-A16E-21DB23B96292D6AF

Generation of flammable mists from high flashpoint fluids: Literature review

Hazardous Area Classification (HAC) for explosive gas atmospheres is well established, with guidance published in various standards and industry codes of practice. However, the same situation is not currently the case for high flashpoint liquid releases that could give rise to an explosive mist atmosphere. There is a pressing need for clear guidance on mist hazards to allow operators to determine the extent of areas where flammable mists may be present and to select appropriate equipment for use in those areas. This report provides a survey of the recent literature on flammable mists and pulls together information that will be useful in developing a HAC methodology for explosive mist atmospheres. It focuses on the three fundamental issues: mist flammability, mist generation and mitigation measures.  The first of these is discussed with reference to five measurable parameters: the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL), Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE), Maximum Experimental Safe Gap (MESG), Minimum Igniting Current (MIC), and Minimum Hot Surface Ignition Temperature (MHSIT). Measurements of these quantities in mists are analysed and models for their prediction are discussed. The second issue of mist generation is examined under four categories: mists produced by pressurised sprays, condensation aerosols, agitation/splashing/sloshing and air stripping. Of these, the primary focus is on spray releases and condensation aerosols, which are considered to be the most likely sources of mists. Measurements undertaken in sprays are described and models are discussed. Mitigation measures are surveyed briefly, which include mist detection, use of fire-resistant fluids or anti-misting additives, inerting and control of static charge. Finally, tentative proposals are suggested for developing area classification guidance based on the prediction of the flammable mist cloud size.

 Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr980.pdf

ChemView – A web-based tool

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a web-based tool, called ChemView, to significantly improve access to chemical specific regulatory information developed by EPA and data submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). “This online tool will improve access to chemical health and safety information, increase public dialogue and awareness, and help viewers choose safer ingredients used in everyday products,” said James Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The tool will make chemical information more readily available for chemical decision-makers and consumers.”

The ChemView web tool displays key health and safety data in an online format that allows comparison of chemicals by use and by health or environmental effects. The search tool combines available TSCA information and provides streamlined access to EPA assessments, hazard characterizations, and information on safer chemical ingredients. Additionally, the new web tool allows searches by chemical name or Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number, use, hazard effect, or regulatory action. It has the flexibility to create tailored views of the information on individual chemicals or compare multiple chemicals sorted by use, hazard effect or other criteria. The new portal will also link to information on manufacturing, processing, use, and release data reported under the Chemical Data Reporting Rule, and the Toxics Release Inventory.

Source : http://www.epa.gov/chemview/

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