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Skerfving S., Bencko V., Vahter M., Schütz A., Gerhardsson L.
Environmental health in the Baltic region - Toxic metals
Recent reports on concentrations of lead, cadmium, methylmercury, arsenic and nickel in some biological media in populations of the Baltic region are reviewed. In particular, children in parts of Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany have uptakes of lead sufficient to cause adverse effects on the central nervous system and kidneys. Cadmium exposure is also high in Poland. Methylmercury uptake is dependent upon the intake of fish in Sweden and Finland, as well as along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. There are some indications of immunotoxic effects. However, fish also contain other immunomodulating agents. Exposure to arsenic seems to be low everywhere in the Baltic region. There is high nickel exposure in northern Russia.
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 1999, Vol.25, Suppl.3, p.40-64. Illus. 199 ref.
Ambient air pollution and respiratory health in the east Baltic region
Air pollutants of primary concern to human health in the east Baltic region include particulate matter and sulfur dioxide. Exposure to elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide and ozone is also widespread. Coal-fired power and heavy industrial plants constitute major sources of air pollution. Domestic heating with coal causes high local levels in some areas. The rapid growth of motor vehicle traffic results in increased emissions. Several epidemiologic studies performed in the east Baltic region, mainly in Poland, have documented an association between air pollution exposure and adverse health effects, primarily in the respiratory tract. The associations were mainly seen for particulates or sulfur dioxide, and thus they confirmed the findings from other parts of Europe and the United States.
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 1999, Vol.25, Suppl.3, p.5-16. Illus. 29 ref.
Flesch F., Thaon I.
Intoxications par le fer [in French]
Most cases of acute poisoning by iron are due to the ingestion of ferrous salts, either accidentally among children, or more rarely with an intention of committing suicide among adults. The main toxic mechanism of iron derives from its ability to induce the formation of free radicals and, consequently, the peroxidization of lipids. Iron poisoning evolves through four phases: digestive problems; transient clinical improvement; hepatitis; shock and acidosis; permanent after-effects on the digestive system in the form of stenosis. Besides symptomatic treatment, the treatment involves decontamination of the digestive tract, including intestinal lavage and chelating treatment with deferoxamine. Activated carbon is not effective. Chronic exposure to iron occurs mainly in occupational settings, and gives rise to overload pneumoconiosis due to the inhalation of iron oxide dust.
Encyclopédie médico-chirurgicale, Toxicologie-Pathologie professionnelle, 2nd Quarter 1999, No.123, 4p. 28 ref.
Benaissa L., Hantson P., Laforge M., Borron S., Baud F.
Cyanides and toxic cyanogens
Cyanures et toxiques cyanogéniques [in French]
Cyanides are present in many chemicals. Cyanide poisoning is frequent, and found in particular among victims of fires. Cyanide poisoning may lead to headaches, vertigo, agitation, confusion, coma, convulsions and death. Considerable progress has been made in the treatment of cyanide poisoning. A large dose of hydroxocobalamine used in conjunction with oxygen is considered to be the first line of treatment for this type of poisoning, and considerably favours the reanimation process. Symptomatic treatment includes assisted ventilation (breathing of 100% oxygen), correction of acidosis and the maintaining of arterial pressure. The effectiveness of antidote treatment is evaluated initially on the correction of hypotension and lactic acidosis, then on the absence or presence of permanent neurological after-effects.
Encyclopédie médico-chirurgicale, Toxicologie-Pathologie professionnelle, 3rd Quarter 1999, No.124, 7p. 59 ref.
International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS)
The summary of this report highlights the major issues and makes recommendations for further research. The results on which the health criteria are based are: physical and chemical properties; environmental sources and levels; toxicokinetics and metabolism; effects on experimental animals and humans (cardiovascular, pulmonary, cerebrovascular, behavioural effects, developmental toxicity); combined exposure with other factors (high altitude, drugs, alcohol, smoking) and high-risk groups. Information about occupational exposure given. The occupations with high exposure risk are vehicle driving, maintaining and parking, steel production, coke ovens, carbon black production, petroleum refining, fire fighting, cooking and construction. Replaces CIS 80-720. Summaries in French and in Spanish.
World Health Organization, Marketing and Dissemination, 1211 Genève 27, Switzerland, 2nd ed., 1999. xxiv, 464p. Approx. 800 ref. Index. Price: CHF 96.00 (CHF 67.20 in developing countries).
Bellmann B., Muhle H.
Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin
Investigation of the in vivo solubility of fibrous vitreous silica dust samples
Untersuchung der in-vivo-Löslichkeit von glasigen silicatischen Faserstäuben [in German]
This research report examines the elimination of mineral fibres from the lungs of rats and the transposition of the results to man. Such fibres disappear either by chemical dissolution or through a macrophage-mediated lung-clearance process, the latter being however much slower in man than in the rat. The objective of this study was to establish whether by slowing down of the lung-clearance process through additional instillation of poorly soluble plastic (such as toner powder), one could alter the mineral fibre dissolution process. The elimination of ceramic fibres was delayed by the addition of plastic particles, while the elimination of rock fibres was not modified. It was observed that in the presence of plastic particles, glass fibres were eliminated more rapidly. This could be due to a slowing down of fibre phagocytosis by macrophages, which could favour a more rapid dissolution of the fibres, the pH inside the macrophages being less acidic. The application of this experimental model will enable a better understanding of the kinetics of lung elimination of different types of mineral fibres. Summaries in English and French.
Wirtschaftsverlag NW, Postfach 10 11 10, 27511 Bremerhaven, Germany, 1999. vii, 65p. Illus. 16 ref.
Macchioni P., Kotopulos C., Talini D., De Santis M., Masino E., Paggiaro P.L.
Hairdresser's asthma: Five case reports
Asma dei parrucchieri: descrizione di 5 casi [in Italian]
This paper reports five cases of bronchial asthma in hairdressers exposed to bleaching dusts containing potassium and ammonium persulfate. All subjects complained of asthmatic symptoms and were examined for nonspecific bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. They also underwent skin prick tests for common allergens, maximal expiratory volume monitoring during two weeks at work, specific bronchial challenge (SBC) test with bleaching dust, and assessment of airway inflammation by induced sputum tests. None of the subjects were atopic and all subjects were negative for skin prick tests. All were hyperreactive to methacholine and positive to SBC. Pharmacological treatments in combination with reduced occupational exposure reduced symptoms.
Medicina del lavoro, Nov.-Dec. 1999, Vol.90, No.6, p.776-785. Illus. 17 ref.
Teufel D., Bauer P., Voigt S., Wagner T.
New medical findings concerning the health effects of summer smog - Computation of the number of deaths caused by summer smog in Germany
Neue medizinische Erkenntnisse über die gesundheitlichen Auswirkungen von Sommersmog - Berechnung der durch Sommersmog verursachten Todesfälle in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [in German]
Epidemiological studies conducted in recent years in major cities of 10 countries around the world have attributed an increase in mortality rates to high ozone concentrations. Medical threshold values for ozone as an indicator of summer smog are 90 to 100mg/m3. It was estimated that for 50mg/m3 of additional ozone as a one-hour average, the mortality increases overall by 2.8%, and mortality due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases by 2.1% and 4.0%, respectively. For the same ozone increment, but as an eight-hour average, the corresponding figures are 4.6%, 2.6% and 4.9%. Applying these estimates to the ozone levels measured at 300 stations in Germany between 1990 and 1995, 23,500 deaths were attributable to summer smog during these years. It is recommended to reinforce the current European Union limit of 120mg/m3 and revise it down to 90mg/m3. The current US limit of 240mg/m3 is considered inadequate.
UPI-Institut, Handschuhsheimer Landstr. 118a, 69121 Heidelberg, Germany, July 1999. 29p. Illus. 49 ref. Price: DEM 10.00.
Health and Safety Executive
Chromate primer paints
The hexavalent form of chromium, present in chromate primers is associated with several health hazards including irritation of the respiratory system, skin and eyes. The most common chromates used in primer paints are also classified as carcinogenic. This information sheet outlines the responsibilities of employers and the self-employed with respect to risk evaluation and limitation of exposure under the current regulations applicable in the United Kingdom. Contents include: description of health hazards; occupational exposure limits; prevention and control of exposure; respiratory protective equipment; maintenance of equipment; exposure monitoring; health surveillance; information and training.
HSE Books, P.O. Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA, United Kingdom, Sep. 1999. 4p. 16 ref.
Health and Safety Executive
Take care with oxygen - Fire and explosion hazards in the use of oxygen
This booklet provides information on fire and explosion hazards when oxygen is used. It is aimed at any person using oxygen gas in cylinders. Main hazards are described and guidance is given on the way of handling and replacing gas cylinder components.
HSE Books, P.O. Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA, United Kingdom, Aug. 1999. 14p. Illus. 10 ref.
Lead, you and your family
Le plomb, vous et votre famille [in French]
This leaflet is aimed at workers handling or in contact with lead. It explains health effects due to lead and measures to be taken to prevent the contamination of the workers' families. Contents: intake routes (nose, mouth); health effects (haematological effects, effects on the nervous system, nephrotoxic effects); effects on reproduction and on children; uses of lead and possible exposures; rules for limiting exposure at the workplace (personal protective equipment, workplace cleaning, hygiene, medical examinations); preventing the contamination of the family.
Institut national de recherche et de sécurité (INRS), 30 rue Olivier-Noyer, 75680 Paris cedex 14, France, 1999. 8p. Illus.
Smith R.A., Ascherl F.M.
Issues concerning the measurement of borate in occupational environments
Borates are susceptible to weight change due to uptake or loss of water and this hydration instability can lead to gravimetric and interpretation errors in occupational hygiene field sampling of dust. The hydration stability for inhalable borate dust particles (mean diameter 7-22µm) was characterized over a range of ambient temperature and relative humidity conditions simulating field sampling. Borax 10 mol, a fully hydrated borate, has a relatively high vapour pressure to water that led to rapid dehydration with significant weight change. Low hydrate borates, Neobor® borax 5 mol, anhydrous boric acid and anhydrous borax were found to hydrate rapidly with an increase in weight. In contrast, boric acid and borax 5 mol were found to be stable to dehydration under all conditions. Because the specific borate species or borate compounds collected in a 37-mm dust sampler cannot be accurately identified, occupational exposure values should be revised to reflect exposure to boron and exposure values for these borates should be the same based on equivalent boron content.
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, Sep.-Oct. 1999, Vol.60, No.5, p.651-658. Illus. 13 ref.
Apostoli P., Bartoli D., Alessio L., Buchet J.P.
Biological monitoring of occupational exposure to inorganic arsenic
The study was undertaken to assess biological indicators for monitoring occupational exposure to inorganic arsenic (iAs), taking into account the possible confounding role of arsenicals present in food and drinking water. 51 glass workers exposed to arsenic (As) trioxide, a control group of 39 subjects not exposed and eight volunteers who drank water containing 45µg/L iAs for a week were monitored for total arsenic in air and urine samples, and for urinary As3, As5, monomethyl arsonic acid, dimethyl arsinic acid, and arsenobetaine. The best correlations between As in air and its urinary species were found for total iAs and As3+As5. It is proposed that urinary As3+As5 be used as an indicator for monitoring the exposure to iAs. For the current environmental limit for iAs of 10µg/m3, the limit for urinary As3+As5 was calculated to be around 5µg/L. Trivalent arsenic is the most active species and its measured concentration in urine could be the best predictor of some critical effects of the element, such as cancer.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Dec. 1999, Vol.56, No.12, p.825-832. Illus. 66 ref.
Baraza Peregrín A.
Ozone: A cure or a hazard?
El ozono, ¿solución o problema? [in Spanish]
Topics: air purification; atmospheric pollution; ozone; disinfection of air; health hazards; limitation of exposure; odour threshold; organic compounds; threshold limit values; water treatment.
Mapfre seguridad, 3rd Quarter 1999, Vol.19, No.75, p.15-21. Illus. 12 ref.
Approval testing of welders - Fusion welding - Part 4: Nickel and nickel alloys
Epreuve de qualification des soudeurs - Soudage par fusion - Partie 4: nickel et ses alliages [in French]
Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this ISO standard were covered by CIS 00-751, CIS 00-752 and CIS 00-1640, respectively. Topics: aptitude tests; nickel; ISO; metals; nickel alloys; qualifications; standard; welding and cutting; work aptitude.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Case postale 56, 1211 Genève 20, Switzerland, 1st ed., Apr. 1999. iv, 20p. Illus.
Approval testing of welders - Fusion welding - Part 3: Copper and copper alloys
Epreuve de qualification des soudeurs - Soudage par fusion - Partie 3: cuivre et ses alliages [in French]
Parts 1, 2 and 4 of this ISO standard were covered by CIS 00-751, CIS 00-752 and CIS 00-1641, respectively. Topics: aptitude tests; copper; copper alloys; ISO; metals; qualifications; standard; welding and cutting; work aptitude.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Case postale 56, 1211 Genève 20, Switzerland, 1st ed., Apr. 1999. v, 23p. Illus. 17 ref.
McCunney R.J., Masse F., Galanek M.
Occupational ingestion of P-32: The value of monitoring techniques to determine dose - A case report
The internal dose of a P-32-labelled compound that had inadvertently been ingested was estimated using the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICPR)-30 model. This metabolic model assumes that 80% of the material ingested is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract because P-32 is soluble. Twenty-four-hour urine sampling over a 6-week period, coupled with daily whole body counting over the same period, was performed. An assessment of the laboratory where the accident occurred indicated that approximately 600µCi of radioactive phosphorus was missing. The total effective dose equivalent was estimated at 4.8rem (48mSv). This report confirms the value of using the ICRP-30 model with urinary measurements and whole body counting to estimate the radioactive dose received as a result of ingestion of P-32.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Oct. 1999, Vol.41, No.10, p.878-883. Illus. 7 ref.
Lander F., Kristiansen J., Lauritsen J.M.
Manganese exposure in foundry furnacemen and scrap recycling workers
The aim of the study was to investigate the sources and levels of manganese exposure in foundry furnacemen by a combined measuring of blood-manganese (B-Mn) and manganese in ambient air (air-Mn). Air-Mn and B-Mn were measured during and after exposure in 24 furnacemen employed in foundries and in 21 workers from a scrap recycling plant. Furnacemen who work in insufficiently ventilated smelting departments inhale, absorb and retain significant amounts of manganese in their blood despite a generally low measured airborne level of manganese fumes. The exposure values compared with post-exposure values revealed a significant decrease in the B-Mn level of the most exposed furnacemen. Two persons were suspected of suffering clinically subacute manganese intoxication as both had B-Mn levels beyond the normal limit. The results indicate that B-Mn may be a valuable parameter for estimating recent exposure (within 1-2 weeks).
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Nov. 1999, Vol.72, No.8, p.546-550. Illus. 20 ref.
Mäittälä J., Pennanen S., Puputti M., Haapa K., Liesivuori J.
Occupational exposure to alkoxysilanes in a fibreglass manufacturing plant
To assess the exposure of workers to alkoxysilanes and to determine the main route of exposure during the manufacture of fibreglass, samples were taken from workers and their environment. The silane concentrations in the air samples were below the detection limit of the analytical methods used. The mean dermal exposure to 3-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane was analysed from cellulose patch samples as well as in handwash samples. The results showed that the workers were clearly exposed to silanes. The main route of potential exposure was through the skin, especially the hands, which emphasized the importance of wearing appropriate protective gloves. According to patch sampling, on average two thirds of the cases of total dermal exposure were caused by exposure of the forearm, as indicated by the amounts of silanes analysed in the forearm patches. Since almost every worker wore protective gloves, the main cause of exposure to silanes was from the wearing short-sleeved T-shirts which did not provide any protection to the arms.
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Nov. 1999, Vol.72, No.8, p.539-545. 30 ref.
Bader M., Dietz M.C., Ihrig A., Triebig G.
Biomonitoring of manganese in blood, urine and axillary hair following low-dose exposure during the manufacture of dry cell batteries
A cross-sectional study was carried out on 100 workers from three different workplace areas in a dry cell battery manufacturing plant and on 17 currently nonexposed referents, to examine the relationship between the external exposure to manganese dioxide (MnO2) and the body burden of manganese in blood, urine and hair. Manganese in blood and axillary hair correlated with airborne manganese in group-based calculations but not on an individual level. The manganese concentrations varied between 3.2µg/L and 25.8µg/L in the blood and between 0.4µg/L and 49.6µg/L in hair. Mean values were lower for the nonexposed referents. Manganese differed significantly between the highly exposed workers and both the reference and the low-exposure group. No differences for manganese in urine were observed between workers and referents. Manganese in blood is a specific and suitable parameter for the biomonitoring of MnO2 exposure, although its validity is limited to group-based calculations.
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Nov. 1999, Vol.72, No.8, p.521-527. Illus. 23 ref.
Montagnani R., De Merich D., Marinaro M., Sepulcri D., Scalet B.
Exposure to cerium oxide in the polishing of handmade glass
Esposizione ad ossido di cerio nella brillantatura del vetro lavorato a mano [in Italian]
Cases of pneumoconiosis, pulmonary fibrosis and dyspnoea have been recorded for workers using cerium oxide in manual glass polishing. Approx. 100 glass works in Murano (Venice, Italy) were studied with respect to the exposure of their workers to aerosols containing cerium oxide. Without local air exhaust, the ACGIH TLV/TWA of 10mg/m3 would be exceeded by a wide margin. Local aspiration was shown to reduce dust exposure by a factor of ten. Wet work does not provide sufficient protection, since fine powders (particles measuring 1-2µm) are particularly hard to wet.
Fogli d'informazione ISPESL, Apr.-June 1999, Vol.12, No.2, p.37-40. 11 ref.
Check list - Acids and bases
Liste de contrôle - Acides et bases [in French]
Checkliste - Säuren und Laugen [in German]
Lista di controllo - Acidi e liscive [in Italian]
Check list of 20 safety measures for the handling and storage of acids and bases. Topics: acids; bases, alkalis; check lists; corrosive substances; personal protective equipment; plant safety organization; safe working methods; Switzerland; training manuals; training material.
Suva, Gesundheitsschutz, Postfach, 6002 Luzern, Switzerland, [1999?]. 4p. Illus.
Occupational safety in oxyacetylene welding
Segurança do trabalho na soldagem oxiacetilênica [in Portuguese]
Guidance to safe acetylene welding. Main topics covered: description of the oxyacetylene system; hazards due to the use of oxygen and acetylene; safety devices and requirements for their use; safe operation (preparing the equipment, igniting the blowpipe; welding; extinguishing the blowpipe; putting away the equipment; use of personal protective equipment).
Fundacentro, Rua Capote Valente 710, São Paulo, SP 05409-002, Brazil, 2nd ed., 1999. 70p. Illus. 23 ref.
Substâncias peroxidáveis [in Portuguese]
Peroxidable compounds are chemicals which can react with oxygen to form unstable peroxides, possibly resulting in violent explosions. Some are widely used in chemical laboratories and industry. Formation of peroxides can occur during storage, or by evaporation, distillation, heating or under the effect of impact or friction. This document reviews all the information on this subject. Main topics covered: mechanism of peroxidation and structure of peroxidable compounds; substances which give rise to peroxides; elimination of peroxides by chemical reaction; labelling; storage, waste disposal; inhibition of peroxide formation; substitution. Various tests for peroxide detection are described in the appendix.
Fundacentro, Rua Capote Valente 710, São Paulo, SP 05409-002, Brazil, 1999. 57p. 18 ref.
Cancer mortality among arc welders exposed to fumes containing chromium and nickel - Results of a third follow-up: 1989-1995
A historical follow-up study among arc welders exposed to chromium and nickel was started in 1980 (for the original study, see CIS 85-1415). A third follow-up extending the observation period to the years 1989 through 1995 is reported here. By 1995, of the 1213 welders and 1688 controls who were originally included in the study, 274 welders and 448 controls had died. Results showed that cancer mortality remains significantly increased by approximately 35%. There was an elevation of 50% or 60% in mortality from cancers of the respiratory tract, which is also statistically significant. However, this increase is predominantly due to a large excess in mortality from mesothelioma, which is known to be caused chiefly by asbestos exposure. Lung cancer mortality is nonsignificantly increased by approximately 20% to 30%. An indirect assessment of asbestos-related lung cancers and total cancer indicates that the observed increase of mortality might be mainly due to asbestos exposure. No indication of an elevated cancer risk specifically associated with the exposure to welding fumes containing chromium and nickel could be determined.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Apr. 1999, Vol.41, No.4, p.294-303. 19 ref.
Lamm S.H., Braverman L.E., Li F.X., Richman K., Pino S., Howearth G.
Thyroid health status of ammonium perchlorate workers: A cross-sectional occupational health study
A study of employees at a perchlorate manufacturing plant was conducted to assess whether occupational exposure to perchlorate suppresses thyroid function. Exposure to perchlorate was assessed by measurement of ambient air concentrations of perchlorate particles, and systemic absorption was assessed by measurement of urinary perchlorate excretion. Workers were grouped into four exposure categories. Thyroid function was assessed by measurement of serum thyroid-stimulating hormone, free thyroxine index, thyroxine, triiodothyronine, thyroid hormone binding ratio, thyroid peroxidase antibodies and by clinical examination. No differences in thyroid function parameters were found among the four groups of workers across approximately three orders of magnitude of exposure and of dose. Thus human thyroid function was not affected by these levels of absorbed perchlorate. In addition, no clinical evidence of thyroid abnormalities was found in any exposure group. The blood-cell counts were normal in all groups, indicating no evidence of haematotoxicity in this exposure range.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Apr. 1999, Vol.41, No.4, p.248-260. Illus. 20 ref.
Control of nitrous oxide during cryosurgery
Topics: nitrous oxide; cryogenic fluids; data sheet; exhaust ventilation; gas cylinders; maintenance; substitution; surgical treatment; USA.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA, Jan. 1999. 3p. Illus.
Health and Safety Executive
Cadmium in silver soldering or brazing
Topics: cadmium oxide; cadmium; chemical pneumonitis; data sheet; exposure tests; health hazards; irritants; limitation of exposure; permissible levels; silver brazing; soldering and brazing; United Kingdom; welding fumes.
HSE Books, P.O. Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 6FS, United Kingdom, Mar. 1999. 4p. 13 ref.
Löfstedt H., Seldén A., Storéus L., Bodin L.
Blood lead in Swedish police officers
Shooting with lead-containing ammunition in firing ranges is a well-known source of lead exposure in adults, and police officers may be at risk of lead intoxication. Swedish police officers considered as the most active shooters on and/or off duty responded to a questionnaire about health, lifestyle, shooting habits and potential lead exposure. Blood samples were collected and analysed for PbB and a multivariate regression analysis was performed. The mean PbB in male officers was 0.24µmol/L, and in female officers it was even lower (0.18µmol/L). For both sexes combined, a positive correlation of PbB with the number of bullets annually fired both on and off duty was observed and this finding remained in a multiple regression analysis including age, smoking habits and latency from last shooting exercise. Occupational and recreational lead exposure from firing ranges still seems to be a source of lead exposure in Swedish police officers, but it no longer appears to he a health risk. Lead-free ammunition and well-ventilated indoor firing ranges may have been decisive for this encouraging finding.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, May 1999, Vol.35, No.5, p.519-522. Illus. 10 ref.
Hoerauf K., Lierz M., Wiesner G., Schroegendorfer K., Lierz P., Spacek A., Brunnberg L., Nüsse M.
Genetic damage in operating room personnel exposed to isoflurane and nitrous oxide
To evaluate possible genetic damage in lymphocytes, exposure of operating room personnel to waste anaesthetic gases was measured. Venous blood samples were drawn and lymphocytes were cultured. The operating room personnel at the hospital were exposed to an 8-hour time weighted average of 12.8ppm nitrous oxide and 5.3ppm isoflurane. The mean sister chromatid exchange frequency was significantly higher in exposed workers than controls; the proportion of micronuclei was also higher but not significant. Exposure even to trace concentrations of waste anaesthetic gases may cause dose-dependent genetic damage. Concerning the micronuclei test, no clastogenic potential could be detected after average chronic exposure to waste anaesthetic gas. However, an increased frequency of sister chromatid exchanges in human lymphocytes could be detected.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, July 1999, Vol.56, No.7, p.433-437. Illus. 28 ref.
Akila R., Stollery B.T., Riihimäki V.
Decrements in cognitive performance in metal inert gas welders exposed to aluminium
In most investigations, little is discovered of the effects of exposure to occupational toxins on cognitive function because many functions cooperate to produce the single performance scores typically reported from neuropsychological tests. To facilitate the interpretation of neuropsychological scores, the issue of occupational exposure to aluminium was examined with an approach intended to increase understanding of those cognitive processes that may be affected. The impairments found were circumscribed. When the neuropsychological tasks were scored to show some of the underlying theoretical cognitive structures, the results indicated that performance difficulties were mainly detected in tasks requiring working memory, particularly that relating to processing of visuospatial information. There was also evidence that such impairments are more readily found in time limited tasks involving visually presented material, in which effective visual scanning combined with control of working memory is demanded.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sep. 1999, Vol.56, No.9, p.632-639. Illus. 35 ref.
Hobbesland Å., Kjuus H., Thelle D.S.
Study of cancer incidence among 8530 male workers in eight Norwegian plants producing ferrosilicon and silicon metal
To examine the association between cancer incidence and duration of work among employees in Norwegian plants producing ferrosilicon and silicon metal, cases of cancer were obtained from The Cancer Registry of Norway. The numbers of various cancers were compared with expected figures calculated from age and calendar time specific rates for Norwegian men during the same period. Internal comparisons of rates were performed with Poisson regression analysis. A total of 832 cases of cancer were observed against 786 expected (standardized incidence ratio (SIR) = 1.06). Among the furnace workers an increased incidence of lung cancer (SIR 1.57) and testicular cancer (SIR 2.30) was found. Internal comparisons of rates among the rural furnace workers showed a positive trend between incidence of lung cancer and duration of work of 1.05/work-year. Excess cases of prostate and kidney cancer were found among blue collar non-furnace workers, in particular among the mechanics. Results suggest associations between furnace work and lung and testicular cancer, and between non-furnace work and prostate cancer.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sep. 1999, Vol.56, No.9, p.625-631. 38 ref.
Hobbesland Å., Kjuus H., Thelle D.S.
Study of cancer incidence among 6363 male workers in four Norwegian ferromanganese and silicomanganese producing plants
The objective of this study was to examine the associations between duration of specific work and cancer incidence among employees in four Norwegian ferromanganese and silicomanganese producing plants. A total of 607 cases of cancer was observed against 596 cases expected (standardized incidence ratio (SIR) = 1.02). Internal comparisons of rates showed a positive trend between the rate of all cancers and duration of furnace work. A slightly weaker trend was also found for duration of blue collar non-furnace work when lags of 25 or 30 years were applied in the analyses. However, several results indicated that the incidence of all cancers among thenon-furnace workers decreased during the period of active employment. Furnace and non-furnace workers may have exposures that increase the incidence of several cancers. The low incidence of cancer among non-furnace workers during the period of ongoing exposure cannot be explained. As this study cannot identify any causal factors, the role of exposure to manganese remains unclear.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sep. 1999, Vol.56, No.9, p.618-624. 35 ref.
Boice J.D., Marano D.E., Fryzek J.P., Sadler C.J., McLaughlin J.K.
Mortality among aircraft manufacturing workers
To evaluate the risk of cancer and other diseases among workers engaged in aircraft manufacturing potentially exposed to compounds containing chromate, trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE) and mixed solvents, a retrospective cohort mortality study was conducted. The standardized mortality ratios for 40 causes of death categories were computed for the total cohort and for subgroups defined by sex, race, position in the factory, work duration, year of first employment, latency and broad occupational group. Factory job titles were classified as to likely use of chemicals, and internal Poisson regression analyses were used to compute mortality risk ratios for categories of years of exposure to chromate, TCE, PCE and mixed solvents, with unexposed factory workers serving as referents. The results from this large-scale cohort study of workers followed up for over 3 decades provide no clear evidence that occupational exposures at the aircraft manufacturing factory resulted in increases in the risk of death from cancer or other diseases.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sep. 1999, Vol.56, No.9, p.581-597. 29 ref.
Jankovic J.T., Underwood W.S., Goodwin G.M.
Exposure from thorium contained in thoriated tungsten welding electrodes
Isotopic analysis of a nominal 2% thoriated welding electrode found 0.6ppm±0.4ppm 230Th and less than 0.1ppm 228Th. Analysis of a ceriated tungsten electrode and a lanthanated tungsten electrode for 232Th found 124ppm and 177ppm, respectively. Electrode consumption during welding was primarily the result of tip sharpening. Less than 3% of the weight loss was attributable to the welding process. The in-mask concentration of respirable thorium particulate in the welders' breathing zone was 0.002 x 10-12µCi232Th/mL. The concentration of respirable thorium particulate from electrode sharpening was 1.3 x 10-12µCi232Th/mL. The measured sharpening time was 20 sec per electrode. Estimates of the activity median aerodynamic diameters for the respirable fraction of the welding and electrode sharpening aerosols were 3.5 and 5µm, respectively, when measured in the breathing zone at 0.3m (12 inches) from the point of operation. The respirable fraction of the total welding and sharpening aerosols was 45 and 60%.
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, May-June 1999, Vol.60, No.3, p.384-389. 17 ref.
Radiation exposure and cancer mortality in uranium processing workers
Data from the Comprehensive Epidemiology Data Resource allowed the study of patterns of cancer mortality in a cohort of 4,014 uranium-processing workers in a plant in the State of Ohio (USA). Employing risk-set analysis for cohort data, the effects of external (gamma) and internal (alpha) radiation on cancer mortality were determined. Results indicate that plant workers exposed to ionizing radiation experienced an increase in mortality from total cancer (per 100mSv external dose rate ratio (RR) = 1.92), radiosensitive solid cancer (RR = 2.00) and lung cancer (RR = 2.77). Effects were strongest when exposure had occurred among older workers (>40 years). In addition, an increase in lung cancer mortality for workers exposed to ≥200mSv of internal (alpha) radiation (RR = 1.92) was observed. Furthermore, results demonstrate the importance of a long follow-up time when studying solid cancers, the potential for bias due to worker selection associated with concomitant chemical exposures, problems of exposure measurement, confounding and effect modification due to age at exposure.
Epidemiology, Sep. 1999, Vol.10, No.5, p.531-538. 30 ref.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans - Volume 71: Re-evaluation of some organic chemical, hydrazine and hydrogen peroxide (three parts)
Topics: animal experiments; biological hazards; carcinogenic effects; carcinogens; hydrazine; hydrogen peroxide; criteria document; epidemiologic study; exposure evaluation; hazard evaluation; IARC; literature survey; mutagenic effects; organic compounds; toxic effects; WHO.
World Health Organization, Distribution and Sales Service, 1211 Genève 27, Switzerland, 1999. vi, 1,586p. (3 vols.). Bibl.ref. Index.
Reynolds S.J., Seem R., Fourtes L.J., Sprince M.L., Johnson J., Walkner L., Clarke W., Whitten P.
Prevalence of elevated blood leads and exposure to lead in construction trades in Iowa and Illinois
This study characterized the prevalence of blood lead concentrations in high-risk construction trades in Iowa/Illinois, and identified risk factors for occupational exposure to lead in these construction workers. A sample of 459 workers was selected from the total population of all union members from trade groups of painters, plumbers/pipefitters, ironworkers, laborers and electricians. Participants completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire obtaining information on demographics, symptoms, occupational history, work practices, personal protective equipment and training. Venous blood samples were collected from each participant and analysed for blood lead and free erythrocyte protoporphyrin levels. Blood lead levels differed by the type of trade, type of project and specific job activity owing to differences in the inherent exposure potential of each task. The study provides evidence that training, implementation of engineering contracts and proper use of personal protective equipment such as respirators is effective in controlling lead poisoning.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Aug. 1999, Vol.36, No.2, p.307-316. Illus. 20 ref.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (ATSDR)
Toxicological profile for aluminum (Update)
This toxicological profile provides a thorough overview of the possible effects of exposure to aluminium (Al) in humans. Heavy exposure to Al dust may result in respiratory or neurological damage. There is some evidence of a relationship between high levels of Al exposure and Alzheimer's disease, but this is not confirmed by other studies. The 8h Time Weighted Average (TWA) set by OSHA is 15mg/m3 for total Al dust and 5mg/m3 for respirable fractions.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology/Toxicology Information Branch, 1600 Clifton Road NE, E-29, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA, July 1999. xx, 352p. Illus. approx. 1200 ref.
BCGA Code of practice CP 26 - Bulk liquid carbon dioxide storage at users' premises
This document of the British Compressed Gases Association is intended as a Code of Practice for the guidance of UK companies associated with the installation, operation and maintenance of liquid carbon dioxide storage installations at users' premises. It makes reference to current UK legislation and British Standards in this field. Contents: general considerations; layout and design features; access to the installation; testing of the installation and commissioning; operation and maintenance; training and protection of personnel.
British Compressed Gases Association, 14 Tollgate, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53 3TG, United Kingdom, rev.1, 1999. 32p. Illus. 26 ref.
Hirsch A.R., Zavala G.
Long term effects on the olfactory system of exposure to hydrogen sulphide
Chronic effects of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) on cranial nerve I (nervi olfactorii) have been only minimally described. In this study, chemosensations (smell and taste) were evaluated in eight men who complained of continuing dysfunction 2-3 years after the start of occupational exposure to H2S. Various bilateral (both nostrils) and unilateral (one nostril at a time) odour threshold tests with standard odorants as well as the Chicago smell test, a three-odour detection and identification test and the University of Pennsylvania smell identification test, and a series of 40 scratch and sniff odour identification tests were administered. Six of the eight patients showed deficits of various degrees. Two had normal scores on objective tests, but thought that they continued to have problems. H2S apparently can cause continuing, sometimes unrecognized olfactory deficits. Further exploration into the extent of such problems among workers exposed to H2S is warranted.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Apr. 1999, Vol.56, No.4, p.284-287. 15 ref.
Oxygen enrichment of room air to improve well-being and productivity at high altitude
Increasingly, commercial and scientific activities, such as mining and observational astronomy, are taking place at very high altitudes, up to 5,000m. Frequently, workers commute to these locations from much lower altitudes. In addition, large numbers of people permanently live and work at high altitudes. The hypoxia of high altitude impairs sleep quality, mental performance, productivity and general well-being. The proposed solution is to inject oxygen into enclosed work areas through the air-conditioning system. An increase in oxygen concentration by one percentage point (e.g. from 21% to 22%) decreases the equivalent altitude by about 300m, i.e. a room at an altitude of 4,500m containing 26% oxygen is effectively at an altitude of 3,000m. This innovative technique promises to improve productivity and well-being at high altitudes.
International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, July-Sep. 1999, Vol.5, No.3, p.187-193. Illus. 23 ref.
Knoblauch A., Steiner B.
Major accidents related to manure: A case series from Switzerland
Data on 61 serious accidents related to manure exposure in Switzerland between 1951 and 1995 were analysed. 44 were due to inhalation of manure gas, 11 involved falls into manure containers and six were methane explosions. There were 105 victims in all, with 49 fatalities, including 12 in which persons attempting to rescue primary victims died. 37 persons survived gas poisoning. There were 15 successful rescues and four cases in which primary victims saved themselves. The main danger is that of gradual or sudden manure gas intoxication, which is often fatal. However, almost a third of the accidents were due to falls into manure containers or manure gas explosions. Accidents in which victims of gas poisoning regained consciousness and saved themselves are also reported. Analysis of the accident circumstances confirms the importance of strict observation of existing safety guidelines with respect to both structural design and working practices. Specific measures at the scene can substantially increase the chances for survival of both primary victims and would-be rescuers.
International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, July-Sep. 1999, Vol.5, No.3, p.177-186. Illus. 22 ref.
Díaz González P.M.
Exposure to vanadium, hazards and evaluation
Exposición al vanadio, riesgos y valoraciones [in Spanish]
Topics: vanadium; gastrointestinal diseases; hazard evaluation; health hazards; implementation of control measures; neurotoxic effects; obstructive ventilatory impairment; silicosis; toxic substances; toxicology; uses; vanadium and compounds.
Prevención, Jan.-Mar. 1999, No.147, p.7-15. Illus. 3 ref.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Toxicological profile for cadmium: Update
Topics: anaemia; cadmium and compounds; carcinogenic effects; cadmium chloride; cadmium sulfate; cadmium oxide; cadmium sulfide; cadmium carbonate; cadmium; chromosome changes; criteria document; exposure evaluation; gastric disorders; glossary; health hazards; irritation; limitation of exposure; literature survey; lung cancer; nephrotoxic effects; osteoporosis; respiratory diseases; staining of teeth; toxic effects; toxicity evaluation; toxicology; USA.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology, Toxicology Information Branch, 1600 Clifton Road NE, E-29, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA, July 1999. xix, 397p. Illus. approx. 1180 ref.
Kim I.H., Seo S.H.
Occupational chemical burns caused by bromine
Topics: bromine; case study; chemical burns; chemical industry; delayed effects; erythema; protective clothing; washing.
Contact Dermatitis, July 1999, Vol.41, No.1, p.43. 3 ref.
Sarkar T.K., Banerjee K.K., Sarkar A.K., Samanta A.
Evaluation of carbon monoxide exposure in an integrated coal chemical industry
An evaluation study of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure of workers in an integrated coal chemical industry was carried out. The highest mean environmental CO level was found to be 425ppm at the producer gas plant, whereas the mean minimum level was measured at 14.3ppm at pocking zones. In lock-hopper zones, the highest mean CO concentration was 338.7ppm during charging time. In the retort house, the mean CO level was 285ppm during charging time. The mean carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) level of producer gas plant employees was 5.84, whereas the level was found to be 4.93 in employees working in the retort house. These values were significantly altered in comparison to controls (mean level of 1.66). Results indicate significant exposure to CO in both the producer gas plant and the retort house, which caused different clinical manifestations in the employees.
Central European Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 1999, Vol.5, No.1, p.50-53. 10 ref.
Ferruz R., Peña J.A., Santamaría J.
Hazards at installations using chlorine
Peligrosidad en instalaciones de manejo de cloro [in Spanish]
Topics: chlorine; case study; causes of accidents; chemical industry; compressed gases; corrosion; dangerous substances; irritants; major hazards; threshold limit values; toxic gases.
Mapfre seguridad, 2nd Quarter 1999, Vol.19, No.74, p.35-43. Illus. 15 ref.
Radon K., Nowak D., Heinrich-Ramm R., Szadokwski D.
Respiratory health and fluoride exposure in different parts of the modern primary aluminium industry
A cross-sectional study was carried out on 78 potroom workers, 24 foundry workers, 45 carbon-plant workers and 56 control workers (watchmen, craftsmen, office workers, laboratory employees) of a modern aluminium plant to investigate possible acute and long-term respiratory health effects of work at different working places. The survey consisted of pre- and postshift spirometric and urinary fluoride measurements. In a multiple regression model a small but significant negative correlation was found between postshift urinary fluoride concentrations and forced vital capacity (FVC), FEV1, and peak expiratory flow (PEF). Across-shift spirometric changes were observed only in FVC among carbon-plant workers. The results suggest that lung function impairment in the modern primary aluminium industry may be only partly due to fluoride exposure and that working in aluminium carbon plants may cause acute lung function changes.
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Aug. 1999, Vol.72, No.5, p.297-303. Illus. 24 ref.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Toxicological profile for hydrogen sulfide
Contents: public health statement; health effects; chemical and physical information; production, import, use and disposal; potential for human exposure; analytical methods; regulations and advisories; glossary. Health hazards include: irritation of respiratory tract, skin and eyes; frostbite; respiratory impairment (dyspnoea, pulmonary oedema, respiratory failure); cardiovascular effects; gastrointestinal effects (nausea, vomiting); haematological effects; metabolic effects; neurotoxic effects (headaches, insomnia, neurobehavioural changes, tremors, convulsions, loss of appetite, fatigue, poor memory, dizziness, irritability); reproductive effects (spontaneous abortions).
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology, Toxicology Information Branch, 1600 Clifton Road NE, E-29, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA, July 1999. xix, 179p. Illus. approx. 450 ref.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Toxicological profile for mercury: Update
Contents: public health statement; health effects; chemical and physical information; production, import, use and disposal; potential for human exposure; analytical methods; regulations and advisories; glossary. Health hazards include: respiratory symptoms (dyspnoea, cough, reduced vital capacity, pulmonary oedema, pneumonia, fibrosis); cardiovascular effects; gastrointestinal effects (stomatitis, colic, diarrhoea, nausea); haematological effects (leukocytosis); musculoskeletal effets (tremors, muscle pain); hepatotoxic effects; nephrotoxic effects; erythema; immunotoxic effects; neurotoxic effects; reproductive effects (spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, congenital malformations, menstrual disorders, infertility); effects on child development.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology, Toxicology Information Branch, 1600 Clifton Road NE, E-29, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA, Mar. 1999. xx, 617p. Illus. approx. 1280 ref.
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