Successful experiences with a handy equipment to measure dust concentrations in various workplaces. (57/621)

Performance of a direct-reading handy equipment for dust counting in workroom air, PDR (MIE, USA), was field-tested in comparison with the results of low-volume air sampling-gravimetry. Application in 64 workplaces of various type dust work with dust concentrations of up to 1.6 mg/m3 showed that the agreement was generally good with a correlation coefficient (r) >0.64. The calculated regression line had a slope close to one, and the intercept on the axis was next to nil, suggesting that the measurement with PDR is essentially the same with that by low-volume air sampling. Further analysis by types of dust work disclosed that the correlation was best when examined in 12 foundries with r as large as 0.95. In contrast, r was small (0.52) in 11 welding workplaces, possibly due to smaller particle size of dust generated during welding.  (+info)

Surveillance for work-related hearing loss in the UK: OSSA and OPRA 1997-2000. (58/621)

Surveillance data on occupational audiological disorders have been collected by the Occupational Surveillance Scheme for Audiological Physicians (OSSA) since October 1997 and by the Occupational Physicians Reporting Activity (OPRA) from January 1996. During the 3 years ending in September 2000, a total of 1620 new cases were received from consultant audiological physicians; 988 new cases were estimated from reports by occupational physicians in the period from October 1997 to September 2000. The annual incidence of occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) was 1.94 and 1.23 per 100 000 workers for the OSSA and OPRA schemes, respectively. The median age at diagnosis with NIHL was 59 years in OSSA reports and 50 years in OPRA; nearly all cases were seen in men (95.6 and 92.5% male cases for OSSA and OPRA, respectively). High incidence rates based on OSSA reports were seen in foundry labourers (64.0 per 100 000 employed), coal gas and coke oven furnace workers (54.6), workers in transport and communication (43.1), metal workers (31.3), and members of the armed forces (28.3). Data from occupational physicians point to high rates in sawyers and woodworking machinists, metal furnace workers, coach and carriage builders, maintenance fitters, and engineering labourers. Among workers aged < or =45 years, those in manufacturing and the armed forces were prominent. The long latency of occupational hearing loss makes surveillance difficult, but consistent patterns in occupational risk suggest targets for preventive efforts.  (+info)

Non-malignant mortality among Norwegian silicon carbide smelter workers. (59/621)

OBJECTIVES: To investigate associations between exposures in the silicon carbide (SiC) industry and mortality from non-malignant diseases. METHODS: Mortality among 2562 men, working in one of three silicon carbide smelters was investigated, giving 52,618 person-years of follow up from 1962 to 1996. Dose-response relations were investigated by internal comparisons using Poisson regression and by stratified standardised mortality ratio (SMR) analyses. RESULTS: Mortality from all causes was significantly raised compared with the Norwegian mortalities among men, SMR=1.12, (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.05 to 1.20). An excess mortality from asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis combined was found, SMR=2.21 (95% CI 1.61 to 2.95), increasing from 1.05 in the unexposed category to 2.64 (95% CI 1.44 to 4.43) in the upper category of exposure to total dust. The Poisson regression analysis confirmed the results from the stratified SMR analyses, and suggested that smoking did not act as a confounder. No association was found for circulatory mortality. CONCLUSIONS: There was an increased mortality from asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis combined among SiC workers exposed to dust.  (+info)

Health interventions for the metal working industry: which is the most cost-effective? A study from a developing country. (60/621)

This study ranked the cost-effectiveness of health interventions in the metal working industry in a developing country. Data were based on 82 034 workers of the Northern region of Mexico. Effectiveness was measured through 'healthy life years' (HeaLYs) gained. Costs were estimated per worker according to type and appropriate inputs from selected health interventions. 'Hand' was the anatomical region that yielded the most gain of HeaLYs and amputation was the injury that yielded the most gain of HeaLYs. The most effective health intervention corresponded to training, followed by medical care, education, helmets, safety shoes, lumbar supports, safety goggles, gloves and safety aprons. In dollar terms, education presented the best cost-effectiveness ratio (US$637) and safety aprons presented the worst cost-effectiveness ratio (US$1 147 770). Training proved to be a very expensive intervention, but presented the best effectiveness outcome and the second best cost-effectiveness ratio (US$2084). Cost-effectiveness analyses in developing countries are critical. Corporations might not have the same funds and technology as those in developed countries or multinational companies.  (+info)

Respiratory health effects of long-term exposure to different chromium species in stainless steel production. (61/621)

The aim of this study was to determine whether occupational exposure to chromite, trivalent chromium (Cr(3+)) or hexavalent chromium (Cr(6+)) causes respiratory diseases, an excess of respiratory symptoms, a decrease in pulmonary function or signs of pneumoconiosis among workers in stainless steel production. Altogether, 203 exposed workers and 81 referents with an average employment of 23 years were investigated for indicators of respiratory health on two occasions, in 1993 and in 1998. Data collection with a self-administered questionnaire, flow volume spirometry, measurement of diffusing capacity, chest radiography and laboratory tests were carried out by a mobile research unit. Exposure to different chromium species and other metals was monitored regularly and studied separately. No adverse respiratory health effects were observed in the group exposed to Cr(6+), either in comparison with the control group in the first cross-sectional study or during the additional 5 year follow-up. Among the Cr (3+) exposed people, the production of phlegm, shortness of breath and breathlessness on exertion were significantly more frequent than in the control group, but the frequency of the symptoms did not increase during the follow-up; no differences were observed in the lung function tests and the radiographic findings did not progress. In the chromite group, the prevalence of breathlessness on exertion was higher than in the control group. However, in the follow-up, the occurrence of symptoms did not differ from 1993 to 1998. In the first study, most parameters of lung function were lower among the smokers in the chromite group than among the smoking controls, but in 1998 the difference was less marked. An average exposure time of 23 years in modern ferrochromium and stainless steel production and low exposure to dusts and fumes containing Cr(6+), Cr(3+), nickel and molybdenum do not lead to respiratory changes detectable by lung function tests or radiography. The workers exposed to Cr(3+) had more respiratory symptoms than those in the control group. The workers in the chromite mine had lower lung function test results than the control group due to earlier exposure to higher dust concentrations.  (+info)

Metalworking fluid hand dermatitis. (62/621)

In a household appliance plant, several rinse-free lubricating fluids have been used instead of neat mineral oils since 1994: mixtures of isoparaffinic hydrocarbons with 9 to 14 carbons per molecule. As such they denature keratin, irritate and defat the skin, and remove water from it. Work gloves have been worn over plastic gloves and separate, reusable, cotton inner gloves have been added to absorb sweat since skin problems were first recognized in 1994. All 74 males (mean +/- SD, 38.8 +/- 8.0 years) who work with the fluids were interviewed and given cutaneous examinations when indicated. While 4 cases of severe dermatitis and 31 cases of mild dermatitis were identified, 28 individuals gave a history of similar problems since the use of lubricating fluids. Their symptoms were typical of primary skin irritation. The hands were the commonly affected region (63 of 63 cases: 100%), followed by the thighs (15.9%) and trunk (11.1%). The work-related skin symptoms identified were less common in workers who immediately removed the liquid with soap and water, when it is spilled on the hands, than in those who did not, but the difference was not statistically significant (7/23 (30.4%) vs. 28/51 (54.9%), p=0.051 by chi-square test). Since skin contact with metalworking fluids (MWF) is often unavoidable, good personal hygiene is important in minimizing potential adverse health effects. Health education thus remains the most important preventive measure against irritant contact dermatitis among workers handling MWFs.  (+info)

Combining expert ratings and exposure measurements: a random effect paradigm. (63/621)

The aim of this paper is to present a paradigm for combining ordinal expert ratings with exposure measurements while accounting for a between-worker effect when estimating exposure group (EG)-specific means for epidemiological purposes. Expert judgement is used to classify the EGs into a limited number of exposure levels independently of the exposure measurements. The mean exposure of each EG is considered to be a random deviate from a central exposure rating-specific value. Combining this approach with the standard between-worker random effect model, we obtain a nested two-way model. Using Gibbs sampling, we can fit such models incorporating prior information on components of variance and modelling options to the rating-specific means. An approximate formula is presented estimating the mean exposure of each EG as a function of the geometric mean of the measurements in this EG, between and within EG standard deviations and the overall geometric mean, thus borrowing information from other EGs. We apply this paradigm to an actual data set of dust exposure measurements in a steel producing factory. Some EG-specific means are quite different from the estimates including the ratings. Rating-specific means could be estimated under different hypotheses. It is argued that when setting up an expert rating of exposures it is best done independently of existing exposure measurements. The present model is then a convenient framework in which to combine the two sources of information.  (+info)

Nasal cell micronuclei, cytology and clinical symptoms in stainless steel production workers exposed to chromium. (64/621)

The objective of the present study was to determine whether workers in stainless steel production with low exposure to various forms of chromium show an increase in micronucleated nasal cells or an excess of nasal symptoms or disease. Altogether, 48 workers employed in a stainless steel production chain were studied, 29 of them in the steel melting shop with exposure to hexavalent chromium (Cr(6+)), 14 in the sintering and crushing departments of the ferrochromium plant with exposure to trivalent chromium (Cr(3+)) and five in the mine with exposure to chromite ore (Cr(3+)). Thirty-nine workers from the cold rolling mill, with very low exposure to chromium, served as referents. All the subjects were never smokers with a minimum of 14 years employment in the same department. There were no significant differences between the exposure groups and the referents regarding the mean frequency of centromere-negative or centromere-positive micronuclei (studied by pancentromeric fluorescence in situ hybridization), nasal diseases and symptoms or mucociliary clearance of the nasal cavity. No statistically significant differences in the incidence of cell atypia or inflammatory cells were detected between the exposed workers and the reference group, except for an increase in lymphocytes among the chromite ore workers. Anterior rhinoscopy indicated slight inflammatory changes in nasal mucosa and secretion more often in the Cr(6+) and Cr(3+) groups than in the referents, the Cr(6+)-exposed workers showing more livid or oedemic epithelium. In conclusion, the stainless steel production workers, with low exposure to dusts or fumes containing hexavalent or trivalent chromium, did not show clinical changes in the nasal mucosa or an increase in nasal cell micronuclei or symptoms of nasal diseases, except for slight changes in the nasal epithelium and secretion.  (+info)