Lead exposure in the lead-acid storage battery manufacturing and PVC compounding industries.
This study was conducted as part of the Human Exposure Assessment Location (HEAL) Project which comes under the United Nations Environment Programme/World Health Organisation (UNEP/WHO) Global environmental Monitoring System (GEMS). The objective of the study was to evaluate workers' exposure to lead in industries with the highest exposure. All subjects were interviewed about their occupational and smoking histories, the use of personal protective equipment and personal hygiene. The contribution of a dietary source of lead intake from specified foods known to contain lead locally and personal air sampling for lead were assessed. A total of 61 workers from two PVC compounding and 50 workers from two lead acid battery manufacturing plants were studied together with 111 matched controls. In the PVC compounding plants the mean lead-in-air level was 0.0357 mg/m3, with the highest levels occurring during the pouring and mixing operations. This was lower than the mean lead-in-air level of 0.0886 mg/m3 in the lead battery manufacturing plants where the highest exposure was in the loading of lead ingots into milling machines. Workers in lead battery manufacturing had significantly higher mean blood lead than the PVC workers (means, 32.51 and 23.91 mcg/100 ml respectively), but there was poor correlation with lead-in-air levels. Among the lead workers, the Malays had significantly higher blood lead levels than the Chinese (mean blood levels were 33.03 and 25.35 mcg/100 ml respectively) although there was no significant difference between the two ethnic groups in the control group. There were no significant differences between the exposed and control group in terms of dietary intake of specified local foods known to contain lead. However, Malays consumed significantly more fish than the Chinese did. There were no ethnic differences in the hours of overtime work, number of years of exposure, usage of gloves and respirators and smoking habits. Among the Malays, 94.3% eat with their hands compared with 9.2% of the Chinese. Workers who ate with bare hands at least once a week had higher blood lead levels after adjusting for lead-in-air levels (mean blood lead was 30.2 and 26.4 mcg/100 ml respectively). The study indicated that the higher blood lead levels observed in the Malay workers might have been due to their higher exposure and eating with bare hands. (+info)
Association between illegal drugs and weapon carrying in young people in Scotland: schools' survey.
OBJECTIVES: To identify the type and extent of weapons being carried among young people in Scotland, and to determine the relation between use of illegal drugs and weapon carrying. DESIGN: Questionnaire school survey. SETTING: Independent schools in central Scotland and schools in Lanarkshire and Perth and Kinross. PARTICIPANTS: 3121 students aged 11 to 16 in 20 schools. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Self completion questionnaire reporting history of drug use and weapon carrying. RESULTS: Overall, 34.1% of males and 8. 6% of females reported having carried a weapon (P<0.0001), ranging from 29.2% of boys aged 11-13 (classes S1 to S2) to 39.3% of boys aged 13-15 (S3 to S4). These values are higher than those in a recent survey of young people in England. Weapon carrying in Lanarkshire was 70% higher for males than in the rural area of Perth and Kinross. Both males and females who had taken drugs were more likely to carry weapons (63.5% of male drug users versus 20.5% of non-users and 22.8% of female drug users versus 3.7% of non-users; both P<0.0001). The proportions of males carrying weapons who used none, one, two, three or four, or five or more illegal drugs were 21%, 52%, 68%, 74%, and 92% respectively. A similar trend was found among females. CONCLUSIONS: Better information is needed on the nature and extent of weapon carrying by young people in the United Kingdom, and better educational campaigns are needed warning of the dangers of carrying weapons. (+info)
Occupational dermatoses from one-component epoxy coatings containing a modified polyamine hardener.
In an electronics plant, 2 one-component epoxy coatings containing a modified polyamine hardener were used as covering materials for protecting important information on police radio circuit boards. The resinous parts of the coatings consisted of epoxy resins based on diglycidyl ether of bisphenol F. The hardener was a dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA)-epoxy adduct and contained about 0.16% free DMAPA. Of 105 workers, 17 (16%) were diagnosed to have work-related dermatitis but were not patch tested. The hands were the commonly affected region (13 out of 17 cases). The latent period of dermatitis was very short (mean 21.5 days). The work-related dermatoses were closely related to the type of work and working periods. In the present study, hand protection and the introduction of automation have been demonstrated to be useful for the prevention of epoxy coating dermatitis. (+info)
Applying environmental product design to biomedical products research.
The principal themes for the Biomedical Research and the Environment Conference Committee on Environmental Economics in Biomedical Research include the following: healthcare delivery companies and biomedical research organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit, need to improve their environmental performance; suppliers of healthcare products will be called upon to support this need; and improving the environmental profile of healthcare products begins in research and development (R&D). The committee report begins with requirements from regulatory authorities (e.g., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], the U.S. Food and Drug Administration), and the healthcare delivery sector). The 1998 American Hospital Association and EPA Memorandum of Understanding to reduce solid waste and mercury from healthcare facilities is emblematic of these requirements. The dominant message from the requirements discussion is to ensure that R&D organizations do not ignore customer, environmental, and regulatory requirements in the early stages of product development. Several representatives from healthcare products manufacturers presented their companies' approaches to meeting these requirements. They reported on efforts to ensure that their R&D processes are sensitive to the environmental consequences from manufacturing, distributing, using, and disposing of healthcare products. These reports describe representatives' awareness of requirements and the unique approaches their R&D organizations have taken to meet these requirements. All representatives reported that their R&D organizations have embraced environmental product design because it avoids the potential of returning products to R&D to improve the environmental profile. Additionally, several reports detailed cost savings, sustainability benefits, and improvements in environmental manufacturing or redesign, and increased customer satisfaction. Many companies in healthcare delivery are working to improve environmental performance. Fundamental to these efforts is the necessity of motivating suppliers to improve the environmental profile of new products used in the healthcare delivery sector. (+info)
Reducing environmental risk associated with laboratory decommissioning and property transfer.
The need for more or less space is a common laboratory problem. Solutions may include renovating existing space, leaving or demolishing old space, or acquiring new space or property for building. All of these options carry potential environmental risk. Such risk can be the result of activities related to the laboratory facility or property (e.g., asbestos, underground storage tanks, lead paint), or the research associated with it (e.g., radioactive, microbiological, and chemical contamination). Regardless of the option chosen to solve the space problem, the potential environmental risk must be mitigated and the laboratory space and/or property must be decommissioned or rendered safe prior to any renovation, demolition, or property transfer activities. Not mitigating the environmental risk through a decommissioning process can incur significant financial liability for any costs associated with future decommissioning cleanup activities. Out of necessity, a functioning system, environmental due diligence auditing, has evolved over time to assess environmental risk and reduce associated financial liability. This system involves a 4-phase approach to identify, document, manage, and clean up areas of environmental concern or liability, including contamination. Environmental due diligence auditing includes a) historical site assessment, b) characterization assessment, c) remedial effort and d) final status survey. General practice standards from the American Society for Testing and Materials are available for conducting the first two phases. However, standards have not yet been developed for conducting the third and final phases of the environmental due diligence auditing process. Individuals involved in laboratory decommissioning work in the biomedical research industry consider this a key weakness. (+info)
Ornaments of the earliest Upper Paleolithic: new insights from the Levant.
Two sites located on the northern Levantine coast, Ucagizli Cave (Turkey) and Ksar 'Akil (Lebanon) have yielded numerous marine shell beads in association with early Upper Paleolithic stone tools. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates indicate ages between 39,000 and 41,000 radiocarbon years (roughly 41,000-43,000 calendar years) for the oldest ornament-bearing levels in Ucagizli Cave. Based on stratigraphic evidence, the earliest shell beads from Ksar 'Akil may be even older. These artifacts provide some of the earliest evidence for traditions of personal ornament manufacture by Upper Paleolithic humans in western Asia, comparable in age to similar objects from Eastern Europe and Africa. The new data show that the initial appearance of Upper Paleolithic ornament technologies was essentially simultaneous on three continents. The early appearance and proliferation of ornament technologies appears to have been contingent on variable demographic or social conditions. (+info)
HFs/ergonomics of assistive technology.
An assistive device is designed to accommodate the special needs of disability that can help people with physical, mental or cognitive challenges go through their day-to-day activities with less difficulty. An assistive device usually provide alternatives to functional limitations imposed by the client's disorder, and thereby minimising rehabilitation costs. It is therefore important to know about how assistive technology will function in all the possible aspects of such disabilities and impairements. When designing a technical device, particularly in conjunction with the target user group, ergonomic issues are therefore important to find out the extent to which an assistive device is convenient or not, and to check the quality performance of assistive technology. Since the question of the match or mismatch of an assistive device and a disabled person requires much attention, it is therefore suggested that paying attention on how an assistive device be ergonomically designed and developed is important. Ergonomic applications are to be applied for increasing motivation of prospective customers through innovative performance of AT. The authors believe that there are opportunities in ergonomic applications to manufacture an assistive device as unique, cost saving, and allows less exertation and reduces energy consumption when it is used. Hence this paper highlights human factors and/or ergonomics consideration in the process of design and development of assistive devices synchronising with gerontechnological research and development aiming to emphasise user's requirement. (+info)
Multiple metal contamination from house paints: consequences of power sanding and paint scraping in New Orleans.
Power sanding exterior paint is a common practice during repainting of old houses in New Orleans, Louisiana, that triggers lead poisoning and releases more than Pb. In this study we quantified the Pb, zinc, cadmium, manganese, nickel, copper, cobalt, chromium, and vanadium in exterior paint samples collected from New Orleans homes (n = 31). We used interior dust wipes to compare two exterior house-painting projects. House 1 was measured in response to the plight of a family after a paint contractor power sanded all exterior paint from the weatherboards. The Pb content (approximately 130,000 microg Pb/g) was first realized when the family pet died; the children were hospitalized, the family was displaced, and cleanup costs were high. To determine the quantity of dust generated by power sanding and the benefits of reducing Pb-contaminated dust, we tested a case study house (house 2) for Pb (approximately 90,000 microg/g) before the project was started; the house was then dry scraped and the paint chips were collected. Although the hazards of Pb-based paints are well known, there are other problems as well, because other toxic metals exist in old paints. If house 2 had been power sanded to bare wood like house 1, the repainting project would have released as dust about 7.4 kg Pb, 3.5 kg Zn, 9.7 g Cd, 14.8 g Cu, 8.8 g Mn, 1.5 g Ni, 5.4 g Co, 2.4 g Cr, and 0.3 g V. The total tolerable daily intake (TTDI) for a child under 6 years of age is 6 microg Pb from all sources. Converting 7.4 kg Pb to this scale is vexing--more than 1 billion (10(9)) times the TTDI. Also for perspective, the one-time release of 7.4 x 10(9) microg of Pb dust from sanding compares to 50 x 10(9) microg of Pb dust emitted annually per 0.1 mile (0.16 km) from street traffic during the peak use of leaded gasoline. In this paper, we broaden the discussion to include an array of metals in paint and underscore the need and possibilities for curtailing the release of metal dust. (+info)