Post-shift changes in pulmonary function in a cement factory in eastern Saudi Arabia.
This cross-sectional study was conducted in 1992 in the oldest of three Portland cement producing factories in Eastern Saudi Arabia. The respirable dust level was in excess of the recommended ACGIH level in all sections. Spirometry was done for 149 cement workers and 348 controls, using a Vitalograph spirometer. FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC% and FEF25-75% were calculated and corrected to BTPS. A significantly higher post-shift reduction FEV1, FEV1/FVC% and FEF25-75% was observed in the exposed subjects. Multiple regression analysis showed a significant relationship between post-shift changes and exposure to cement dust but failed to support any relationship with smoking. These findings may indicate an increase in the bronchial muscle tone leading to some degree of bronchoconstriction as a result of an irritant effect induced by the acute exposure to cement dust. (+info)
Criteria for the health evaluation of polymeric materials building.
Various polymer-based synthetic materials have become increasingly ubiquitous in manufactured materials in the U.S.S.R. These release various chemical compounds to the ambient air. The maximum permissible concentrations that have been established for various hazardous chemicals in ambient air must be adjusted to account for the conditions of apartment life. Studies have been conducted to determine exactly what compounds are released and at what rate. Toxicological studies and studies of various physical and chemical properties are required to determine the health effects of these chemicals at concentrations at which they are expected to occur in apartments. More research has to be carried out in this field to further expand our knowledge, and we must beware of any introduction of new polymeric materials without first studying their contribution to possible detrimental health effects. (+info)
Microfungal contamination of damp buildings--examples of risk constructions and risk materials.
To elucidate problems with microfungal infestation in indoor environments, a multidisciplinary collaborative pilot study, supported by a grant from the Danish Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, was performed on 72 mold-infected building materials from 23 buildings. Water leakage through roofs, rising damp, and defective plumbing installations were the main reasons for water damage with subsequent infestation of molds. From a score system assessing the bioavailability of the building materials, products most vulnerable to mold attacks were water damaged, aged organic materials containing cellulose, such as wooden materials, jute, wallpaper, and cardboard. The microfungal genera most frequently encountered were Penicillium (68%), Aspergillus (56%), Chaetomium (22%), Ulocladium, (21%), Stachybotrys (19%) and Cladosporium (15%). Penicillium chrysogenum, Aspergillus versicolor, and Stachybotrys chartarum were the most frequently occurring species. Under field conditions, several trichothecenes were detected in each of three commonly used building materials, heavily contaminated with S. chartarum. Under experimental conditions, four out of five isolates of S. chartarum produced satratoxin H and G when growing on new and old, very humid gypsum boards. A. versicolor produced the carcinogenic mycotoxin sterigmatocystin and 5-methoxysterigmatocystin under the same conditions. (+info)
DS86 neutron dose: Monte Carlo analysis for depth profile of 152Eu activity in a large stone sample.
The depth profile of 152Eu activity induced in a large granite stone pillar by Hiroshima atomic bomb neutrons was calculated by a Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport Code (MCNP). The pillar was on the Motoyasu Bridge, located at a distance of 132 m (WSW) from the hypocenter. It was a square column with a horizontal sectional size of 82.5 cm x 82.5 cm and height of 179 cm. Twenty-one cells from the north to south surface at the central height of the column were specified for the calculation and 152Eu activities for each cell were calculated. The incident neutron spectrum was assumed to be the angular fluence data of the Dosimetry System 1986 (DS86). The angular dependence of the spectrum was taken into account by dividing the whole solid angle into twenty-six directions. The calculated depth profile of specific activity did not agree with the measured profile. A discrepancy was found in the absolute values at each depth with a mean multiplication factor of 0.58 and also in the shape of the relative profile. The results indicated that a reassessment of the neutron energy spectrum in DS86 is required for correct dose estimation. (+info)
Exposure to MDI during the process of insulating buildings with sprayed polyurethane foam.
Buildings are often insulated with sprayed-in-place polyurethane foam in spite of the fact that few studies have been carried out on exposure levels to isocyanates during the spraying process. This paper is meant to provide new data on personal exposure to methylene-bis (4-phenylisocyanate) (MDI) while dwellings and office buildings are being insulated with polyurethane foam. An impinger using a 1-(2-methoxyphenyl)piperazine toluene solution as absorbent was used to take personal samples for the sprayer and helper during indoor and outdoor applications. The analytical results show that the levels of exposure were significant, especially for the sprayer, with values of up to 0.077 mg m-3 and 0.400 mg m-3 during outdoor and indoor applications, respectively. The helper's exposure was always lower. (+info)
Prediction of toxigenic fungal growth in buildings by using a novel modelling system.
There is growing concern about the adverse effects of fungal bioaerosols on the occupants of damp dwellings. Based on an extensive analysis of previously published data and on experiments carried out within this study, critical limits for the growth of the indoor fungi Eurotium herbariorum, Aspergillus versicolor, and Stachybotrys chartarum were mathematically described in terms of growth limit curves (isopleths) which define the minimum combination of temperature (T) and relative humidity (RH) at which growth will occur. Each growth limit curve was generated from a series of data points on a T-RH plot and mathematically fitted by using a third-order polynomial equation of the form RH = a(3)T(3) + a(2)T(2) + a(1)T + a(0). This fungal growth prediction model was incorporated within the ESP-r (Environmental Systems Performance [r stands for "research"]) computer-based program for transient simulation of the energy and environmental performance of buildings. For any specified location, the ESP-r system is able to predict the time series evolution of local surface temperature and relative humidity, taking explicit account of constructional moisture flow, moisture generation sources, and air movement. This allows the predicted local conditions to be superimposed directly onto fungal growth curves. The concentration of plotted points relative to the curves allows an assessment of the risk of fungal growth. The system's predictive capability was tested via laboratory experiments and by comparison with monitored data from a fungus-contaminated house. (+info)
Measurements of the effectiveness of dust control on cut-off saws used in the construction industry.
Materials used in the construction industry frequently contain large quantities of silica. When they are cut or shaped with power tools considerable respirable dust can be produced. Three dust control systems for use with cut-off saws have been evaluated on site: wet dust suppression using mains water, the same system using water from a portable water tank, and local exhaust ventilation. The efficiency of water suppression on cut-off saws has been precisely quantified in controlled laboratory conditions by means of measurements with and without dust control. When dust control was used on-site, the mean concentrations of airborne silica were reduced by a factor of between three and seven, the accuracy being limited by the relatively high limit of detection for silica. All controls systems generally reduced respirable dust levels by at least 90%. Although the effectiveness of dust suppression did not depend on blade type, a diamond blade was more effective than a resin-bonded blade with the pressurised water system; cutting a slab with this type of blade could be completed before the water tank required repressurization. In laboratory tests, the application of water reduced the dust concentration to < 4% of its value without control. The method for monitoring the dust concentration was sufficiently sensitive to measure a difference in concentration produced during cutting in different directions. It is important, however, that the pressure in supply reservoirs is properly maintained, that the water is correctly applied and that it is used at the correct rate. If this is done effective dust control can be achieved. (+info)
Mortality due to asbestos-related causes among railway carriage construction and repair workers.
The objective of this study was to further clarify the cancer risk associated with asbestos exposure in railway carriage construction and repair. The cohort included 734 subjects employed between 1 January 1945 and 31 December 1969. Vital status was ascertained at 31 December 1997. Mortality was investigated in the time span 1970-97. Forty-two subjects (6%) were lost to follow-up and eight causes of death (4%) could not be ascertained. The overall mortality was not above the expected value. Among neoplastic diseases, excesses were observed for lung standardized mortality ratio (SMR) = 124; 90% confidence interval (CI) = 87-172; 26 obs), pleura (SMR = 1,327; CI = 523-2,790; 5 obs), larynx (SMR = 240; CI = 95-505; 5 obs), liver (SMR = 241; CI = 126-420; 9 obs), pancreas (SMR = 224; CI = 98-443; 6 obs) and multiple myeloma (SMR = 429; CI = 117-1,109; 3 obs). The observed excess of lung and pleural neoplasms can be causally related to asbestos exposure in the manufacture of railway carriages. A causal role of asbestos exposure in the raised SMRs from laryngeal and pancreatic neoplasms and multiple myeloma cannot be conclusively proven. (+info)