2015-01-01 12:00 - Messages

The occupational hygiene implications of the use of diacetyl in the food flavouring and fragrance industries

Diacetyl is imported predominantly for use in formulations in the food flavouring industry. There have been reports, mainly in the USA, of damage to the respiratory system caused by inhalation. This report presents the findings of a small study to investigate exposures to diacetyl amongst workers employed in the food flavouring and fragrance industries. The report also includes from previous HSE/HSL visits.
Exposures to diacetyl are generally of short duration, nonetheless, there is potential for workers to be exposed to airborne levels above those recommended by the EU Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) of 0.1ppm (8-hour TWA) at the time of the study. Following completion of this report, EU (SCOEL) have tabled new proposed limits of 0.02 ppm (8-hour TWA) and 0.1 ppm (15-minute TWA). There is currently no UK Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL). Personal exposures to diacetyl for this study ranged from 0.01ppm to 1.7 ppm (8hr TWA) and 0.09ppm to 0.33ppm (15min TWA).
Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) was provided during most diacetyl processes. The effectiveness of LEV control was variable. This was mostly due to inappropriate LEV hood design relative to the process.
The respiratory protective equipment (RPE) used was, in most cases, the correct type, however in some cases the assigned protection factors offered (10 & 20) may not reduce exposures to below the SCOEL proposed limits. Deficiencies in the face-fit testing, training and management of RPE were noted. Recommendations refer to hierarchy of control measures including procedural measures, and currently available HSE guidance.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1021.htm

Worker Illness Related to Newly Marketed Pesticides

On April 10, 2014 the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) was notified by a local newspaper of a suspected pesticide poisoning incident in Douglas County involving pesticides not previously reported in the published literature to be associated with human illness. On that same day, WSDA notified the Washington State Department of Health, which investigated this incident by conducting a site visit, reviewing medical and applicator records, and interviewing affected farmworkers, pesticide applicators, and the farmworkers' employer. In addition, on April 11, WSDA collected swab, foliage, and clothing samples and tested them for residues of pyridaben,* novaluron,† and triflumizole.§ In this incident, all 20 farmworkers working in a cherry orchard became ill from off-target drift of a pesticide mixture that was being applied to a neighboring pear orchard. Sixteen sought medical treatment for neurologic, gastrointestinal, ocular, and respiratory symptoms. This event highlights the need for greater efforts to prevent off-target drift exposures and promote awareness about the toxicity of some recently marketed pesticides. Incidents such as this could be prevented if farm managers planning pesticide applications notify their neighbors of their plans.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6402a2.htm?s_cid=mm6402a2_e

Occupational exposure to wood dust and risk of lung cancer in two population-based case-control studies in Montreal, Canada

Background: Wood dust is one of the oldest and one of the most common occupational exposures in the world. The present analyses examine the effect of lifetime exposure to wood dust in diverse occupational settings on lung cancer risk.
Methods: We conducted two population-based case–control studies in Montreal: Study I (1979–1986) included 857 cases and two sets of controls (533 population and 1349 cancer controls), and Study II (1996–2001) comprised 736 cases and 894 population controls. Detailed job histories were obtained by interview and each job was evaluated by expert chemist–hygienists to estimate the likelihood and level of exposure to many substances, one of which was wood dust. Odds ratios (ORs) were computed in relation to different indices of exposure to wood dust, adjusting for several covariates including smoking. Three datasets were analysed: Study I with population controls, Study I with cancer controls, and Study II.
Results: The most frequently exposed occupations in our study population were in construction, timber and furniture making industries. We found increased risks of lung cancer for substantial cumulative exposure to wood dust in Study I with cancer controls, (OR = 1.4: 95% confidence interval 1.0;-2.0) and in Study II (OR = 1.7: 95% confidence interval 1.1-2.7). There were no excess risks of lung cancer in any of the three datasets among workers whose cumulative exposure was not substantial. These tendencies held equally within strata of low smokers and heavy smokers.
Conclusion: There was evidence of increased risk of lung cancer among workers with substantial cumulative exposure to wood dust.

Source: Eric Vallières, Javier Pintos, Marie-Elise Parent, Jack Siemiatycki. Environmental Health, 2015, 14: 1.

Mise en oeuvre manuelle des polyesters stratifiés

Cette brochure est conçue comme un guide et un document de référence pour la conception, la réception, la conduite et le contrôle des installations de ventilation dans un atelier de polyesters stratifiés. Dans ce guide pratique de ventilation, sont abordés les points suivants :
- Généralités sur les matières premières, le niveau de risque, le polluant principal (styrène), le moulage au contact.
- Méthodologie d'étude du système de ventilation.
- Conception du système de ventilation.
- Éléments complémentaires de réalisation de l'installation.
- Dossiers techniques sur certaines réalisations industrielles (fabrication d'éléments cylindriques, de bateaux, de piscines, etc.).

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/produits/mediatheque/doc/publications.html?refINRS=ED%20665

Characterization of exposure to carbon nanotubes in an industrial setting

While production and use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is increasing, workers exposure to CNTs is expected to increase as well, with inhalation being potentially the main pathway for uptake. However, there have been few studies reporting results about workers' personal exposure to CNTs. In this study, worker exposure to single-walled CNTs (SWCNTs) during the production of conductive films in a modern up-scaling factory was assessed. Particulate matter concentrations (2.5–10 μm) and concentrations of CO and CO2 were monitored by using real-time instruments. Workers' exposure levels to SWCNTs were qualitatively estimated by analyzing particle samples by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). TEM samples identified high aspect ratio (length/width > 500) SWCNTs in workplace air. SWCNT concentrations estimated from micrographs varied during normal operation, reactor use without local exhaust ventilation (LEV), and cleaning between 1.7×10−3, 5.6 and 6.0×10−3 SWCNT cm−3, respectively. However, during cleaning it was unclear whether the SWCNTs originated from the cleaning itself or from other reactor openings. We were unable to quantify the SWCNT emissions with online particle instrumentation due to the SWCNT low concentrations compared to background particle concentrations, which were on average 2.6±1.1×103cm−3. However, CO concentrations were verified as a good indicator of fugitive emissions of SWCNTs. During normal operation, exposure levels were well below proposed limit values (1.0×10−2 fibers cm−3 and 1 µg m−3) when LEV was used. Based on the results in this study, the analysis of TEM grids seems to be the only direct method to detect SWCNTs in workplace air.

Source: Fonseca AS, Viitanen A, Koivisto AJ, et al. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 2014.

HRCT/CT and Associated Spirometric Effects of Low Libby Amphibole Asbestos Exposure

Objective: Evaluate the relationship between cumulative fiber exposure and high-resolution or conventional chest computed tomography (HRCT/CT) changes and spirometry of workers with Libby amphibole asbestos exposure.
Methods: Of the original 1980 cohort (n = 513), 431 were living and asked to participate. Images were evaluated for localized pleural thickening (LPT), diffuse pleural thickening (DPT), and parenchymal changes.
Results: A total of 306 participants provided either HRCT/CT scans (n = 191) or chest radiographs (n = 115). Of the 191 with HRCT/CT, 52.9% had pleural changes and 13.1% had parenchymal changes. Those with LPT only, LPT and/or DPT, or DPT and/or parenchymal changes had mean 6.1, 8.0, and 18.0 loss in percent predicted forced vital capacity, respectively.
Conclusions: Exposure to vermiculite containing amphibole fibers is associated with pleural and parenchymal HRCT/CT changes at low cumulative fiber exposure; these changes are associated with spirometric decrements.

Source: Lockey, James E.; Dunning, Kari PT; Hilbert, Timothy J.; Borton, Eric; Levin, Linda; Rice, Carol H.; McKay, Roy T.; Shipley, Ralph; Meyer, Cristopher A.; Perme, Charles; LeMasters, Grace K. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: January 2015, Volume 57, Issue 1, p. 6–13.

Les nanomatériaux manufacturés à l'horizon 2030

Conséquences en santé et sécurité au travail dans les petites entreprises en France
Depuis le début des années 90, les nanomatériaux ont connu un développement fulgurant. Ils trouvent aujourd'hui des applications dans des secteurs aussi divers que le bâtiment, l'agroalimentaire, la cosmétique, la santé ou l'informatique... En matière de santé et de sécurité au travail, le principal défi est à présent d'anticiper les usages de demain pour imaginer et développer les méthodes et les outils qui permettront de protéger efficacement les salariés.

Source: http://kiosque.inrs.fr/alyas/view/news/lettre/89/html

Occupational irritant contact dermatitis diagnosed by analysis of contact irritants and allergens in the work environment

BACKGROUND: Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) is a common diagnosis in patients with occupational contact dermatitis (OCD). Studies are lacking on the usefulness of material safety data sheets (MSDSs) in making the diagnosis of ICD. OBJECTIVE: To characterize irritant exposures leading to the diagnosis of occupational ICD (OICD), and to evaluate the occurrence of concomitant exposures to contact allergens. METHODS: We included 316 patients with suspected occupational hand dermatitis, referred to the Department of Dermato-Allergology, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Denmark during January 2010-August 2011, in a programme consisting of a clinical examination, exposure assessment, and extensive patch/*** testing. RESULTS: OCD was diagnosed in 228 patients. Of these patients, 118 were diagnosed with OICD. The main irritant exposures identified were wet work (n = 64), gloves (n = 45), mechanical traumas (n = 19), and oils (n = 15). Exposure to specific irritant chemicals was found in 9 patients, and was identified from MSDSs/ingredients labelling in 8 of these patients. Review of MSDSs and ingredients labelling showed that 41 patients were exposed to 41 moderate to potent contact allergens, and 18 patients were exposed to 25 weak workplace contact allergens. CONCLUSION: In the present study, the systematic exposure assessment did not reveal any new irritants. MSDSs have a limited role in the investigation of ICD.

Source: Friis UF, Menne T, Schwensen JF, et al. Contact Dermatitis, 2014; 71 (6): 364-70.

Mise en oeuvre et résultats du suivi post-exposition amiante chez des salariés du BTP

Dans le cadre de l'application du suivi post-exposition amiante selon les recommandations de la Conférence de consensus, l'APST BTP 06 (Service Interentreprises de Santé au travail du BTP) a étudié la prévalence de l'exposition passée à l'amiante chez 2 207 salariés de plus de 50 ans toujours en activité. Tous les salariés entrant dans l'étude ont eu une reconstitution de leur parcours professionnel lors de la visite médicale périodique ou d'embauche et 71 % d'entre eux ont été antérieurement exposés à l'amiante. L'étude a aussi porté sur l'analyse de 516 résultats de scanners thoraciques réalisés chez les salariés âgés de 58 ans et plus. Cette étude a souligné l'ensemble des difficultés qui persistent dans le domaine de la surveillance post-exposition : fiabilité de l'évaluation de l'exposition à parfaire, moyens humains et financiers limités, réseau de prise en charge médicosociale encore insuffisant.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/produits/mediatheque/doc/publications.html?refINRS=TF%20226

Testing the near field/far field model performance for prediction of particulate matter emissions in a paint factory

A Near Field/Far Field (NF/FF) model is a well-accepted tool for precautionary exposure assessment but its capability to estimate particulate matter (PM) concentrations is not well studied. The main concern is related to emission source characterization which is not as well defined for PM emitters compared to e.g. for solvents. One way to characterize PM emission source strength is by using the material dustiness index which is scaled to correspond to industrial use by using modifying factors, such as handling energy factors. In this study we investigate how well the NF/FF model predicts PM concentration levels in a paint factory. PM concentration levels were measured during big bag and small bag powder pouring. Rotating drum dustiness indices were determined for the specific powders used and applied in the NF/FF model to predict mass concentrations. Modeled process specific concentration levels were adjusted to be similar to the measured concentration levels by adjusting the handling energy factor. The handling energy factors were found to vary considerably depending on the material and process even-though they have the same values as modifying factors in the exposure models. This suggests that the PM source characteristics and process-specific handling energies should be studied in more detail to improve the model-based exposure assessment.

Source: Koivisto AJ, Jensen AC, Levin M, et al., Environmental Science Processes & Impacts, 2014.

Usines de dépollution des eaux résiduaires et ouvrages d'assainissement

Guide pratique de ventilation
Ce document est conçu comme un guide et un document de référence à l'usage des personnes et organisations concernées par la conception, la construction, l'exploitation et le contrôle et la maintenance des usines de dépollution (principalement des ouvrages fermés) et de leurs annexes tels que les postes de prélèvement. Au sommaire de ce guide pratique de ventilation : rappel des procédés d'épuration, ventilation des ouvrages, réduction de l'émission des polluants, traitement de l'air avant rejet, exploitation, entretien et vérifications périodiques.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/produits/mediatheque/doc/publications.html?refINRS=ED%20820

Historical trends in radiation protection, policy and communications: 1964 to the present

The past 50 y have seen substantial developments in radiation epidemiology, technology, dosimetry, regulations, and protection efforts. During the last five decades, radiation communication has also evolved, growing more sophisticated as communication science and practice have advanced and matured. This talk covers the trends in radiation protection over the past 50 y, illustrated by progress in science and practice of risk communication and changes in societal expectations, and examines challenges that will confront radiation risk communication in the future.

Source: Locke PA. Health Phys. 2015; 108: 277.

Évaluations des astreintes thermiques à l'aide de la fréquence cardiaque

Les méthodes classiques d'évaluation des astreintes thermiques sont peu adaptées lors des expositions brèves, intenses à la chaleur ou lors du port de tenue étanche. Au cours d'études de terrain sur le travail à la chaleur, les extrapulsations cardiaques thermiques (EPCT) et la température buccale (tbu, en °C) ont été mesurées chez 98 salariés occupant 18 postes de travail différents. Les résultats de cette étude montrent que les EPCT rendent compte avec précision de l'astreinte thermique en général, et en particulier dans les conditions dans lesquelles les outils habituels sont inadaptés ou dangereux. Le résultat des mesures des EPCT permet de décider de la limitation de l'exposition à la chaleur. La variété des situations de travail, le grand nombre de salariés qui ont participé à cette étude et la concordance des résultats à des données recueillies en situation de laboratoire valident la pertinence de la limite proposée de 20 bpm d'EPCT. Cette limite assure que l'astreinte thermique sera toujours inférieure à la valeur seuil de 1 °C en deça de laquelle le risque d'hyperthermie est négligeable. Les EPTC permettent ainsi de contrôler les astreintes physiques et thermiques subies par les salariés et d'organiser la mise en place de pauses. Enfin, lorsque les durées d'exposition sont supérieures à 1 heure, la perte sudorale sera mesurée afin de ne pas négliger le risque de déshydratation.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/produits/mediatheque/doc/publications.html?refINRS=TM%2034

Miscarriage Among Flight Attendants

Background: Cosmic radiation and circadian disruption are potential reproductive hazards for flight attendants.
Methods: Flight attendants from 3 US airlines in 3 cities were interviewed for pregnancy histories and lifestyle, medical, and occupational covariates. We assessed cosmic radiation and circadian disruption from company records of 2 million individual flights. Using Cox regression models, we compared respondents (1) by levels of flight exposures and (2) to teachers from the same cities, to evaluate whether these exposures were associated with miscarriage.
Results: Of 2654 women interviewed (2273 flight attendants and 381 teachers), 958 pregnancies among 764 women met study criteria. A hypothetical pregnant flight attendant with median first-trimester exposures flew 130 hours in 53 flight segments, crossed 34 time zones, and flew 15 hours during her home-base sleep hours (10 pm-8 am), incurring 0.13 mGy absorbed dose (0.36 mSv effective dose) of cosmic radiation. About 2% of flight attendant pregnancies were likely exposed to a solar particle event, but doses varied widely. Analyses suggested that cosmic radiation exposure of 0.1 mGy or more may be associated with increased risk of miscarriage in weeks 9-13 (odds ratio = 1.7 [95% confidence interval = 0.95-3.2]). Risk of a first-trimester miscarriage with 15 hours or more of flying during home-base sleep hours was increased (1.5 [1.1-2.2]), as was risk with high physical job demands (2.5 [1.5-4.2]). Miscarriage risk was not increased among flight attendants compared with teachers.
Conclusions: Miscarriage was associated with flight attendant work during sleep hours and high physical job demands and may be associated with cosmic radiation exposure.

Source: Grajewski, Barbara; Whelan, Elizabeth A.; Lawson, Christina C.; Hein, Misty J.; Waters, Martha A.; Anderson, Jeri L.; MacDonald, Leslie A.; Mertens, Christopher J.; Tseng, Chih-Yu; Cassinelli, Rick T. II; Luo, Lian. Epidemiology, 2015.

Le syndrome toxique des poussières organiques

Presque 40 ans après le premier cas authentifié, le syndrome toxique des poussières organiques (ODTS) reste encore aujourd'hui une pathologie dont l'épidémiologie est mal connue et les mécanismes physiopathologiques hypothétiques. La définition clinique reposant sur l'association d'un syndrome pseudogrippal, centré par l'existence d'une fièvre, et de symptômes respiratoires lors de l'exposition à des environnements fortement contaminés en poussières organiques (milieu agricole, en particulier secteur des céréales et élevage intensif de porcs et de volailles, filière de traitement des déchets, secteurs industriels avec systèmes de conditionnement d'air et d'humidification) est bien individualisée. La relative non-spécificité de cette définition et sa méconnaissance font que le diagnostic est peu souvent porté. L'absence d'agent étiologique clairement identifié, ou plus vraisemblablement la présence simultanée de plusieurs agents dans ces environnements et concourant à la symptomatologie, contribue à rendre cette pathologie mal comprise. Les données épidémiologiques montrent pourtant que cette affection peut être fréquente et que le risque de bronchopneumopathie chronique obstructive (BPCO), qu'il soit le résultat de l'exposition chronique aux poussières organiques ou une complication du syndrome lui-même, est loin d'être négligeable. Il importe donc aujourd'hui que ce diagnostic soit évoqué de manière plus systématique, en particulier par la recherche de symptômes généraux et respiratoires chez les travailleurs exposés à des poussières organiques et que les mesures de prévention soient renforcées.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/produits/mediatheque/doc/publications.html?refINRS=TR%2057

New African Newsletter on chemical safety

The editorial of the latest African Newsletter Chemical safety issue is written by Dr Sinah Y. Seoke from Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, Botswana, and she emphazises that
"Intensive management of chemicals and information are needed, especially in developing countries in Africa where there is an upsurge of SMEs for economic growth and diversification."

Source: http://www.ttl.fi/en/news/Pages/NewAfricanNewsletteronchemicalsafety.aspx

Colloque Expositions professionnelles aux pesticides

Les 28 et 29 octobre 2014, l'Anses et l'EFSA (Autorité européenne de sécurité des aliments) ont organisé conjointement un colloque sur les expositions professionnelles aux pesticides. Ces deux jours ont été l'occasion de rendre compte des avancées scientifiques et techniques autour de la question des expositions aux pesticides et d'échanger sur les enjeux et perspectives en matière d'évaluation, de prévention et de protection. Ont notamment été présentés l'avis récent de l'Anses relatif à l'efficacité des équipements de protection individuelle destinés aux applicateurs de produits phytopharmaceutiques et le document d'orientation de l'EFSA concernant l'évaluation des risques liés à l'exposition aux pesticides des opérateurs et travailleurs. La conférence s'est clôturée par une table ronde permettant d'aborder les actions de prévention à mettre en place au regard des pratiques et des connaissances actuelles pour limiter l'exposition des professionnels aux produits phytopharmaceutiques.

Source: https://www.anses.fr/fr/content/colloque-expositions-professionnelles-aux-pesticides-2829-octobre-2014

Safe use of nanomaterials

Commission publishes guidance for employers and workers
This  Guidance  document offers an overview of  the issues surrounding the safe use of MNMs in the workplace, sets out the broad outlines of preventive action and provides a practical tool for complying with specific aspects of ensuring workers' safety, such as risk assessment and risk management.
This  may be of particular value  to those who may  not  have  an  in-depth  technical  understanding  of  the  issues  involved,  and  may assist  in  ensuring  compliance  with  the  Occupational  Safety  and  Health  (OSH) legislation  when  dealing  with  MNMs.

Source: https://osha.europa.eu/en/news/eu-safe-use-of-nanomaterials-2013-commission-publishes-guidance-for-employers-and-workers

Understanding how to improve the management of exposure to wood dust amongst construction sub-contractors and manufacturing SMEs

Literature review
Available evidence was reviewed to develop a better understanding of how to improve the management of wood dust exposure in small and medium-sized construction and manufacturing enterprises (SMEs).
There was a paucity of research, with most papers exploring the factors that broadly influence health and safety (H&S) management in SMEs.
Factors that influence SMEs' behaviours, included:
- i) limited resources (particularly for small construction and wood working companies),
- ii) a poor awareness of the importance of ill-health prevention,
- iii) risk control advice from third parties,
- iv) management/peer H&S attitudes, and
- v) negative attitudes towards risk controls. Higher levels of H&S awareness and better training provisions were some of the most noteworthy differences found in large compared to small construction companies. Lone working and managing a transient workforce were challenges identified for woodworking and large construction companies respectively.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1017.htm

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