A comprehensive study of the state of urban soils revealed the altered structural and functional organization of microbiocenosis versus that of the soils of intact forest ecosystems. The indicator microbial and biochemical parameters of the state of the soils under urban technological pressure were identified. The findings may be used to evaluate the natural environment, to make an urban environmental monitoring.
The immune status of Moscow dwellers was studied. The findings indicate the criterion significance of immunological and allergological parameters in the estimation of a risk of allergic diseases under the influence of poor environmental factors influence. Hyperactivity in individuals with high immunoglobulin class E levels to environmental factors is suggested by the elevated concentrations of serum specific IgE to intrahouse factors that in combination with the increased levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines (interferon-gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha) and the suppressed production interleukin-4 are criteria for the early manifestations of allergy.
Naturally occurring radioactive elements are found in all groundwaters, especially in bedrock waters. Exposure to these radioactive elements increases the risk of cancer. The most significant of these elements is radon which, as a gas, is mobile and dissolves in groundwater. In Finland, water supply plants are obliged to carry out statutory monitoring of the water quality, including radon. Monitoring of private wells, however, is often neglected. In this paper, we outline the problem by reviewing the outcomes of the studies conducted in Finland since the 1960s. We also summarise the development of legislation, regulations and political decisions made so far that have affected the amount of public exposure to radon in drinking water. A review of the studies on radon removal techniques is provided, together with newly obtained results. New data on the transfer of radon from water into indoor air are presented. The new assessments also take into account the expanding use of domestic radionuclide removal units by Finnish households.
The lifestyle of schoolchildren in a large industrial town was studied in relation to the residence (industrial and administrative areas) and the type of an education establishment (general education schools and innovative education establishments). The spread of lifestyle defects (sleep and walk irregularities, inactivity, bad habits, employment) was shown to be higher in the schoolchildren living in the industrial areas, in general education school pupils in particular. That of lifestyle defects was higher in girls (sleep and diet irregularities, inactivity) than in boys. The findings provide evidence that there is a need for a differential approach to molding a healthy lifestyle in schoolchildren, by keeping in mind the environmental and socioeconomic situation of a residence, the type of an education establishment, age, and gender.
The purpose of the study was to assess the sanitary-and-hygienic state of solid garbage (SG) burial grounds in the Perm Territory in different stage of a life cycle. This paper presents the results of the study of deposited waste, forming dump soil, and SG ground emissions by general sanitary and sanitary-microbiological parameters and their effect on environmental objects. The performed studies of the sanitary-and-hygienic situation on some grounds of the Perm Territory suggest that there is a need for setting up a system for sanitary-and-monitoring of SG ground and for elaborating engineering, organizational, and prophylactic measures to assure the sanitary-and-hygienic safety of objects and to control the quality and quantity of waste to be buried and the currents of emissions (ground body degassing, filtrating sewage drainage and purification).
The established tense environmental situation in Krasnouralsk, Sverdlovsk Region, presents a serious threat to human health. Development of a medium-term municipal environmental program for a Krasnouralsk urban district provides solutions of environmental problems. The human health status and carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks from exposure to chemical substances polluting ambient air, drinking water, and soil have been assessed within the framework of the program. The findings have served as a basis for elaborating technological and sanitary-and-hygienic measures of the environmental program to assure human environmental safety.
This study investigated the association between the work ability index (WAI) and the single-item question on work ability among women working in human service organizations (HSO) currently on long-term sick leave. It also examined the association between the WAI and the single-item question in relation to sick leave, symptoms, and health. Predictive values of the WAI, the changed WAI, the single-item question and the changed single-item question were investigated for degree of sick leave, symptoms, and health.
This cohort study comprised 324 HSO female workers on long-term (>60 days) sick leave, with follow-ups at 6 and 12 months. Participants responded to questionnaires. Data on work ability, sick leave, health, and symptoms were analyzed with regard to associations and predictability. Spearman correlation and mixed-model analysis were performed for repeated measurements over time.
The study showed a very strong association between the WAI and the single-item question among all participants. Both the WAI and the single-item question showed similar patterns of associations with sick leave, health, and symptoms. The predictive value for the degree of sick leave and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was strong for both the WAI and the single-item question, and slightly less strong for vitality, neck pain, both self-rated general and mental health, and behavioral and current stress.
This study suggests that the single-item question on work ability could be used as a simple indicator for assessing the status and progress of work ability among women on long-term sick leave.
Previous research on mental health care has shown considerable differences in use of seclusion, restraint and involuntary medication among different wards and geographical areas. This study investigates to what extent use of seclusion, restraint and involuntary medication for involuntary admitted patients in Norwegian acute psychiatric wards is associated with patient, staff and ward characteristics. The study includes data from 32 acute psychiatric wards.
Multilevel logistic regression using Stata was applied with data from 1016 involuntary admitted patients that were linked to data about wards. The sample comprised two hierarchical levels (patients and wards) and the dependent variables had two values (0 = no use and 1 = use). Coercive measures were defined as use of seclusion, restraint and involuntary depot medication during hospitalization.
The total number of involuntary admitted patients was 1214 (35% of total sample). The percentage of patients who were exposed to coercive measures ranged from 0-88% across wards. Of the involuntary admitted patients, 424 (35%) had been secluded, 117 (10%) had been restrained and 113 (9%) had received involuntary depot medication at discharge. Data from 1016 patients could be linked in the multilevel analysis. There was a substantial between-ward variance in the use of coercive measures; however, this was influenced to some extent by compositional differences across wards, especially for the use of restraint.
The substantial between-ward variance, even when adjusting for patients' individual psychopathology, indicates that ward factors influence the use of seclusion, restraint and involuntary medication and that some wards have the potential for quality improvement. Hence, interventions to reduce the use of seclusion, restraint and involuntary medication should take into account organizational and environmental factors.
Exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) from fish and marine mammal consumption continues to present a public health concern. To date, developmental neurotoxicity is the most sensitive health outcome, forming the basis for health-risk assessments and the derivation of biomonitoring guidance values. This article summarizes existing Health Canada MeHg blood guidance values for general population and expands them to include a harmonized provisional interim blood guidance value of 8 microg/L based on the existing provisional Tolerable Daily Intake for children, pregnant women and women of childbearing age. Associated public health actions, according to age, sex, and level of exposure are recommended.
Schools are supposed to be places where children learn and thrive; not where they, teachers, and other staff get sick. The hazards are many but recognition of those hazards is hard to come by in schools in Canada and the United States. The result can be an uphill fight for school-based organizations and unions. Representatives of four such groups, two each from Canada and the United States, discuss the hazards and their effects. They also have many-often unrecognized-successes and related lessons to share. These include taking comprehensive approaches, looking for broad sweeps and entrees, using building sciences and strategies of solid information, acting with respect and with persistence, including students and parents, going for green cleaners, and using participatory methods. The representatives build on these to discuss what else needs to be done. The ideas are underpinned by the creativity, dedication, and persistence evident in their work to date.
Pesticides have been implicated as likely environmental risk factors for Parkinson disease (PD), but assessment of past exposure to pesticides can be difficult. No prior studies of pesticide exposure and PD used biomarkers of exposure collected before the onset of PD. Our investigation examined the association between prospective serum biomarkers of organochlorine pesticides and PD.
We conducted a nested case-control study within the Finnish Mobile Clinic Health Examination Survey, with serum samples collected during 1968-1972, and analyzed in 2005-2007 for organochlorine pesticides. Incident PD cases were identified through the Social Insurance Institution's nationwide registry and were confirmed by review of medical records (n = 101). Controls (n = 349) were matched for age, sex, municipality, and vital status. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of PD were estimated using logistic regression.
Little association emerged with a summary score of the 5 organochlorine pesticides found at high levels, and only increasing dieldrin concentrations trended toward a higher risk of PD (OR per interquartile range [IQR] 1.28, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.97-1.69, p = 0.08). Because of possible strong confounding by cigarette smoking among smokers, we ran additional analyses restricted to never smokers (n = 68 cases, 183 controls). In these analyses, increasing dieldrin concentrations were associated with increased odds of PD (OR per IQR 1.95, 95% CI 1.26-3.02, p = 0.003). None of the other organochlorine pesticides were associated with PD in these analyses.
These results provide some support for an increased risk of Parkinson disease with exposure to dieldrin, but chance or exposure correlation with other less persistent pesticides could contribute to our findings.
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This paper is a report of an investigation into whether insecure work contract and shiftwork are associated with reduced wellbeing indicators, such as psychological distress, low job involvement and low work ability.
Insecure work contracts and shiftwork have repeatedly been found to contribute to the development and continuation of negative outcomes among healthcare professionals. In particular, nurses are generally considered as being at high risk of work-related stress and reduced wellbeing.
Cross-sectional survey data from the Finnish Health Care Professional Study collected in 2006 were used. The random sample of Finnish Registered Nurses comprised 2100 women and men aged 22-65 years. Information on the work contract and shiftwork were self-reported. The wellbeing indicators used were psychological distress (GHQ-12), work ability and job involvement. Psychosocial work characteristics were measured using the Job Content Questionnaire and an organizational justice scale.
Variance and linear regression analyses showed that insecure work contract was associated with lower work ability and job involvement. Shiftwork was related to psychological distress, low job involvement and low work ability. Support for a mediating role of job demands and job control and a moderating role of relational justice was obtained.
To reduce the negative effects of environmental stressors, such as insecure work contract and shiftwork, it may be better to focus on improving psychosocial work characteristics than on nurses' health-related behaviour.
One of the largest reported campylobacteriosis outbreaks in Canada occurred in June 2007 in British Columbia, associated with a mountain bike race that took place in muddy conditions. A retrospective cohort study was conducted and environmental samples were collected and tested. There were 537 racers included in the study and 225 racers (42%) reported diarrhoeal illness after the race. C. jejuni clinical isolates (n=14) were found to be identical by multi-locus sequence typing. Although univariate analysis suggested water consumption and mud exposure as significant risk factors, multivariate analysis revealed that on direct ingestion mud was significantly associated with illness (OR 4·08, 95% CI 2·03-8·21). Contaminated mud was thus the most likely source of Campylobacter infection. We identified other unpublished reports of outbreaks associated with bike races in rainy or muddy conditions; these underscore the importance of educating racers and raising public awareness of the risks of mud ingestion.
Falls are a leading cause of occupational injury for workers in healthcare, yet the risk factors of falls in this sector are understudied. Falls resulting in workers' compensation for time-loss from work from 2004-2007 for healthcare workers in British Columbia (BC) were extracted from a standardised incident-reporting database. Productive hours were derived from payroll data for the denominator to produce injury rates; relative risks were derived through Poisson regression modelling. A total of 411 falls were accepted for time-loss compensation. Compared to registered nurses, facility support workers (risk ratio (95% CI) = 6.29 (4.56-8.69)) and community health workers (6.58 (3.76-11.50)) were at high risk for falls. Falls predominantly occurred outdoors, in patients' rooms and kitchens depending on occupation and sub-sector. Slippery surfaces due to icy conditions or liquid contaminants were a leading contributing factor. Falls were more frequent in the colder months (January-March). The risk of falls varies by nature of work, location and worker demographics. The findings of this research will be useful for developing evidence-based interventions. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: Falls are a major cause of occupational injury for healthcare workers. This study examined risk factors including occupation type, workplace design, work setting, work organisation and environmental conditions in a large healthcare worker population in BC, Canada. The findings of this research should contribute towards developing evidence-based interventions.
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES) has long been characterized as Canada's skid row within public narratives that raise concerns about communicable diseases, open drug use, survival sex work, and homelessness. This stigmatizing gaze has bolstered a deficit-oriented philosophy that emphasizes measures to mitigate these threats, ostensibly by erasing the moral and environmental depravity from the landscape. However, such measures threaten to further marginalize DTES residents by perpetuating public sentiments of fear and disgust toward the inner city. In this paper, we challenge this orientation by reporting the results of a research process in which DTES residents chronicled their impressions of the neighbourhood. Our findings reveal a paradoxical therapeutic response to environmental injustice in the inner city, one that enables society's most marginalized people to find support, solidarity, and acceptance in their everyday struggles to survive, even thrive, amidst the structural and physical violence of the urban margins.
To account for use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) in retrospective noise exposure assessment, adjust noise exposure estimates accordingly, and validate the adjusted estimates.
A previous study in the same working population showed a stronger relation for noise and acute myocardial infarction among those who did not wear HPD. Because accurate noise exposure assessment is complicated by the use of HPD, we previously developed a multilevel model of the likelihood of HPD use for British Columbia (Canada) lumber mill workers. Historical estimates of noise exposure can be adjusted according to models predictions and a reduction in misclassifying workers, exposure is expected.
Work history and exposure information were obtained for 13,147 lumber mill workers followed from 1909 until 1998. Audiometric data for the cohort, including hearing threshold levels at several pure tone frequencies, were obtained from the local regulatory agency for the period from 1978 to 2003. Following the modeling of HPD use, noise estimates were adjusted according to models predictions and attenuation factors based on existing research and standards. Adjusted and unadjusted noise metrics were compared by investigating their ability to predict noise-induced hearing loss.
We showed a 4-fold increase in the noise exposure and hearing loss slope, after adjusting for HPD use, while controlling for gender, age, race, as well as medical and non-occupational confounding variables.
While the relative difference before and after adjustment for use of HPD is considerable, we observed a subtle absolute magnitude of the effect. Using noise-induced hearing loss as a 'gold standard' for testing the assessment of retrospective noise exposure estimates should continue to be investigated.
A systematic review was conducted for the association between animal feeding operations (AFOs) and the health of individuals living near AFOs.
The review was restricted to studies reporting respiratory, gastrointestinal and mental health outcomes in individuals living near AFOs in North America, European Union, United Kingdom, and Scandinavia. From June to September 2008 searches were conducted in PUBMED, CAB, Web-of-Science, and Agricola with no restrictions. Hand searching of narrative reviews was also used. Two reviewers independently evaluated the role of chance, confounding, information, selection and analytic bias on the study outcome. Nine relevant studies were identified. The studies were heterogeneous with respect to outcomes and exposures assessed. Few studies reported an association between surrogate clinical outcomes and AFO proximity. A negative association was reported when odor was the measure of exposure to AFOs and self-reported disease, the measure of outcome. There was evidence of an association between self-reported disease and proximity to AFO in individuals annoyed by AFO odor.
There was inconsistent evidence of a weak association between self-reported disease in people with allergies or familial history of allergies. No consistent dose response relationship between exposure and disease was observable.
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Pregnant women's fish consumption provides both benefits and risks to the developing fetus. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from fish may enhance fetal neurodevelopment, while methylmercury (MeHg) can have detrimental effects. Dietitians would benefit from information on the frequency with which fish species may be consumed to increase DHA intake among Canadian women of childbearing age, and on minimizing the risks from MeHg, especially for those who consume fish frequently. Eighteen fish species were selected for DHA and mercury analysis from retail markets in the Toronto area. Consumption scenarios using analytical results for these fish species indicate that women of childbearing age can consume nine of 18 fish species every day (14 servings a week) or often (up to four servings a week) and remain below toxicological benchmarks for mercury. Moreover, women can also attain the recommended DHA level by consuming six of those nine fish: four 75-g servings of smelt, porgie, or bluefish a week, or two 75-g servings of milkfish, silver pomfret, or tilapia a day. Our analysis indicates that the DHA level recommended for childbearing women can be attained through fish consumption alone, without the need for supplementation and without posing a risk to the woman (or the fetus) from mercury.