2015-11-01 12:00 - Messages

A case-control study of airways obstruction among construction workers

Background: While smoking is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), occupational exposures to vapors, gases, dusts, and fumes (VGDF) increase COPD risk. This case-control study estimated the risk of COPD attributable to occupational exposures among construction workers.
Methods: The study population included 834 cases and 1243 controls participating in a national medical screening program for older construction workers between 1997 and 2013. Qualitative exposure indices were developed based on lifetime work and exposure histories.
Results: Approximately 18% (95%CI = 2–24%) of COPD risk can be attributed to construction-related exposures, which are additive to the risk contributed by smoking. A measure of all VGDF exposures combined was a strong predictor of COPD risk.
Conclusions: Construction workers are at increased risk of COPD as a result of broad and complex effects of many exposures acting independently or interactively. Control methods should be implemented to prevent worker exposures, and smoking cessation should be promoted.

Source: John Dement, Laura Welch, Knut Ringen, Patricia Quinn, Anna Chen and Scott Haas. American Journal of Industrial Médicine, Volume 58, Issue 10, pages 1083-1097, October 2015.

Associations of Cognitive Function Scores with Carbon Dioxide, Ventilation, and Volatile Organic Compound Exposures in Office Workers

A Controlled Exposure Study of Green and Conventional Office Environments
Background: The indoor built environment plays a critical role in our overall well-being, both due to the amount of time we spend indoors (~90%) and the ability of buildings to positively or negatively influence our health. The advent of sustainable design or green building strategies reinvigorated questions regarding the specific factors in buildings that lead to optimized conditions for health and productivity.
Objective: To simulate indoor environmental quality (IEQ) conditions in “Green” and “Conventional” buildings and evaluate the impacts on an objective measure of human performance – higher order cognitive function.
Methods: Twenty-four (24) participants spent 6 full work days (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) in an environmentally controlled office space, blinded to test conditions. On different days, they were exposed to IEQ conditions representative of Conventional (high volatile organic compound (VOC) concentration) and Green (low VOC concentration) office buildings in the U.S. Additional conditions simulated a Green building with a high outdoor air ventilation rate (labeled Green+) and artificially elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels independent of ventilation.
Results: On average, cognitive scores were 61% higher on the Green building day and 101% higher on the two Green+ building days than on the Conventional building day (p<0.0001). VOCs and CO2 were independently associated with cognitive scores.
Conclusions: Cognitive function scores were significantly better in Green+ building conditions compared to the Conventional building conditions for all nine functional domains. These findings have wide ranging implications because this study was designed to reflect conditions that are commonly encountered every day in many indoor environments.

Source: Joseph G. Allen, Piers MacNaughton, Usha Satish, Suresh Santanam, Jose Vallarino, and John D. Spengler. Environmental health perspectives, Oct. 2015. 

Milder form of heat-related symptoms and thermal sensation

A study in a Mediterranean climate
Mild heat-related health effects and their potential association with meteorological and personal parameters in relation to subjective and objective thermal sensation were investigated. Micrometeorological measurements and questionnaire surveys were conducted in an urban Mediterranean environment during a warm, cool, and a transitional season. The participants were asked to indicate their thermal sensation based on a seven-point scale and report whether they were experiencing any of the following symptoms: headache, dizziness, breathing difficulties, and exhaustion. Two thermal indices, Actual Sensation Vote (ASV) and Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI), were estimated in order to obtain an objective measure of individuals' thermal sensation. Binary logistic regression was applied to identify risk parameters while cluster analysis was used to determine thresholds of air temperature, ASV and UTCI related to health effects. Exhaustion was the most frequent symptom reported by the interviewees. Females and smokers were more likely to report heat-related symptoms than males and nonsmokers. Based on cluster analysis, 35 °C could be a cutoff point for the manifestation of heat-related symptoms during summer. The threshold for ASV was 0.85 corresponding to "warm" thermal sensation and for UTCI was about 30.85 °C corresponding to "moderate heat stress" according to the Mediterranean assessment scale.

Source: Pantavou KG, Lykoudis SP, Nikolopoulos GK. Int. J. Biometeorol. 2015.

Managing risks from skin exposure at work

Many materials used at work can affect the skin or can pass through the skin and cause diseases elsewhere in the body. If you are an employer, health and safety adviser, trainer or safety representative, this book provides guidance to help you prevent these disabling diseases.
It covers the protective role of the skin, ill health arising from skin exposure, recognising potential skin exposure in your workplace, and managing skin exposure to prevent disease.
There is guidance on assessing and managing risks, reducing contact with harmful materials, choosing the right protective equipment and skin care products, and checking for early signs of skin disease.
The document also contains a series of case studies drawn from a wide range of industries.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg262.htm

Anatomical UV Exposure in French Outdoor Workers

Background: Solar ultraviolet has been recognized as the main causative factor for skin cancer and is currently classified as a carcinogenic agent by International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Method: Results from a previous phone survey conducted in 2012 in France were used to assess exposure conditions to sun among outdoor workers. Satellite data were used in combination with an exposure model to assess anatomical exposure.
Result: The yearly median exposure of the outdoor worker population is 77?kJ/m2 to 116?kJ/m2. Road workers, building workers, and gardeners are the more exposed. About 70% of the yearly dose estimate is due to the cumulative summer and spring exposures.
Conclusions: This study highlights the role of individual factors in anatomical exposure and ranks the most exposed body parts and outdoor occupations. Prevention messages should put emphasis on spring exposure, which is an important contributor to the yearly dose.

Source: Vernez, David; Koechlin, Alice; Milon, Antoine; Boniol, Magali; Valentini, Faustine; Chignol, Marie-Christine; Dore, Jean-Francois; Bulliard, Jean-Luc; Boniol, Mathieu. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: November 2015, Volume 57, Issue 11, p. 1192-1196.

Drift from the use of handheld knapsack pesticide sprayers in Boyacá (Colombian Andes)

Offsite pesticide losses in tropical mountainous regions have been little studied. One example is measuring pesticide drift soil deposition, which can support pesticide risk assessment for surface water, soil, bystanders, off target plants and fauna. This is considered a serious gap, given the evidence of pesticide-related poisoning in those regions. Empirical data of drift deposition of a pesticide surrogate, Uranine tracer, within one of the highest potato producing regions in Colombia, characterized by small plots and mountain orography, is presented. High drift values encountered in our study reflect the actual spray conditions using handled knapsack sprayers. Comparison between measured and predicted drift values using three existing empirical equations showed important underestimation. However, after their optimization based on measured drift information, the equations showed a strong predictive power for this study area and the study conditions. The most suitable curve to assess mean relative drift was the IMAG calculator after optimization.

Source: García-Santos G, Feola G, Nuyttens D, Diaz J. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2015.

Ambiances thermiques

Quand le travail quitte sa zone de confort
Que ce soit à l'extérieur ou à l'intérieur des locaux, la température du lieu de travail influe sur le confort des opérateurs. Si elle est particulièrement élevée ou basse, ce sont la santé et la sécurité de chacun qui peuvent être mises en jeu. La maîtrise des ambiances thermiques et de l'organisation à mettre en place joue alors un rôle essentiel dans la prévention des risques professionnels.

Source: Travail & Sécurité, n° 766, novembre 2015.

Surveillance for Silicosis

Michigan and New Jersey, 2003-2010
CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), state health departments, and other state entities maintain a state-based surveillance program of confirmed silicosis cases. Data on confirmed cases are collected and compiled by state entities and submitted to CDC. This report summarizes information for cases of silicosis that were reported to CDC for 2003-2010. The data for this report were final as of December 31, 2010. Data are presented in tabular form on the prevalence of silicosis, the number of cases and the distribution of cases by year, industry, occupation, and the duration of occupational exposure to dust containing respirable crystalline silica. The number of cases by year is presented graphically.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6254a6.htm

Les expositions aux cancérogènes, mutagènes et reprotoxiques

Un zoom sur huit produits chimiques
Les améliorations sont cependant hétérogènes. L'analyse des huit agents CMR qui touchent le plus de salariés montre que l'exposition au formaldéhyde, au plomb, à l'amiante et aux poussières de bois a fortement diminué tandis que celles à d'autres produits comme la silice cristalline ou les phtalates, important reprotoxique, a plutôt augmenté. Les mesures de protections efficaces contre les produits comme les gaz d'échappement diesel ou les huiles minérales entières ont augmenté mais demeurent très insuffisantes.

Source: http://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/2015-074.pdf

Reproductive and developmental toxicity of carbon-based nanomaterials

A literature review
We summarized the findings of reproductive and developmental toxicity studies on carbon-based nanomaterials (CNMs). Placental transfer of fullerenes in rats and single-walled (SW) and multi-walled (MW) CNTs in mice was shown after intravenous injection. SWCNTs appeared to be embryolethal and teratogenic in mice when given by intravenous injection and induced death and growth retardation in chicken embryos. In mice-administered MWCNTs, fetal malformations after intravenous and intraperitoneal injections and intratracheal instillation, fetal loss after intravenous injection, behavioral changes in offspring after intraperitoneal injection, and a delay in the delivery of the first litter after intratracheal instillation were reported. Oral gavage of MWCNTs had no developmental toxicity in mice and rats. MWCNTs produced morphological defects, developmental arrest, and death in zebrafish embryos. Intratracheal instillation of carbon black (CB) induced testicular toxicity in adult mice. Maternal airway exposure to CB in gestation had testicular toxicity and altered postnatal behavior, renal development, immune and genotoxic responses, and brain morphology in mouse offspring. Nanodiamonds and graphite nanoparticles inhibited vasculogenesis and/or angiogenesis in chicken embryos. Graphene oxide (GO) induced malformations in zebrafish embryos. Intravenous injection of reduced GO during late gestation caused maternal death and abortion in mice. Oral administration of GO during lactation caused growth retardation of offspring. Overall, the available data provide initial information on the potential reproductive and developmental toxicity of CNMs. However, confirmatory studies using well-characterized CNMs, state-of-the-art study protocol and appropriate route of exposure, are required to clarify the findings and provide information suitable for risk assessment.

Source: Ema M, Hougaard KS, Kishimoto A, et al. Nanotoxicology, 2015.

Acute Occupational Pesticide-Related Illness and Injury

United States, 2007-2010
CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) collects data on acute pesticide-related illnesses and injuries reported by 11 states (California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico [2007-2008 only], New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington). This report summarizes data on illnesses and injuries arising from occupational exposure to conventional pesticides during 2007-2010.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6254a2.htm

Réalisation des études dosimétriques de poste de travail présentant un risque d’exposition aux rayonnements ionisants

Ce guide propose une approche méthodologique d'aide à la réalisation d'études dosimétriques de poste de travail nécessaires pour bien identifier les risques d'exposition aux rayonnements ionisants, mettre en œuvre le processus d'optimisation de la radioprotection et classer les travailleurs. Il est complété par des rappels sur les principaux objectifs associés à l'étude de poste, le contexte règlementaire, les sources et modes d'exposition et les grandeurs dosimétriques utiles. Des recommandations relatives au choix et à l'utilisation des instruments de mesure et des méthodes de calcul sont également fournies. L'approche méthodologique générale est appliqués et développée dans des fiches spécifiques, chacune dédiée à un domaine d'activité particulier. À ce jour, seul le domaine médical a fait l'objet de fiches spécifiques. Par extension, il fournit également une aide pour la délimitation des zones règlementées dans l'environnement de travail concerné.

Source: http://www.irsn.fr/FR/expertise/rapports_expertise/Documents/radioprotection/IRSN_guide_etude_poste_travail_V4-102015.pdf

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