Evaluation of environmental risks involves several subjective elements, including the individual reaction to the mere presence of such risks. We have carried out a study of students participating in postgraduate courses in environmental and occupational medicine and of medical students. They received a form that contained twelve statements and were asked to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with these statements. Almost half of the medical students agreed that one must count on developing cancer if one is exposed to a carcinogenic chemical. Responses to other statements were also contrary to the basic principle of the dose-response relationship. A majority in both groups disagreed with the statement that people are unnecessarily concerned about small amounts of pesticides in the environment. Compared to the medical students, the postgraduate students were more sceptical and less concerned regarding environmental risks. These results are in general agreement with a study carried out in the US using the same statements. The results are an indication that we do not necessarily react the same way with regard to information on risks. When communicating such information, the needs and the background of the audience must be appreciated.
Dermal exposure has become the major route of human occupational exposure to pesticides. Detergents are used as part of formulated pesticide products and are known to change the barrier properties of human skin in vitro. However, studies on the influence of detergents as well as protective glove materials on dermal penetration of pesticides are scarce. In an experiment using in vitro static diffusion cells mounted with human skin, we evaluated the effect of nonylphenol-ethoxylate on dermal penetration of three extensively used pesticides--methiocarb, paclobutrazol, and pirimicarb--and the protection against dermal penetration offered by protective gloves made of latex or nitrile. There was a general tendency, though not statistically significant for all pesticides, for nonylphenolethoxylate to decrease the percutaneous penetration of the three pesticides. The nitrile generally offered better protection against percutaneous penetration of pesticides than did latex, but the degree of protection decreased over time and depended on the pesticides used.
Blood lead concentrations in a Danish reference population were related to information from an extensive questionnaire on work, environment and life style. The mean concentration of lead in blood was 0.167 mumol/L, i.e. significantly lower than in previous studies. This finding is in accordance with the fact that less than 10% of petrol used in Denmark contained lead additives (up to 0.15 g/L). An important finding was that the well-documented predictors for lead in blood at higher concentration levels, such as age, gender, menopausal status, and intake of alcohol, are still valid in a low-level exposure situation. In addition, a strong and negative correlation was found between blood lead concentrations and dietary supplementation with vitamins and minerals. The present data indicate that lead exposure may still constitute a health risk in a small proportion of adult males and postmenopausal women.
OBJECTIVES: Blood lead concentrations in a Danish reference population were related to information from an extensive questionnaire on work, environment, and life-style. METHODS: Data were gathered for 209 persons by means of a questionnaire and blood lead analyses. RESULTS: The mean concentration of lead in blood was 0.167 micromol/l (ie, significantly lower than in previous studies). This finding is in accordance with the fact that less than 10% of the gasoline used in Denmark contains lead additives (up to 0.15 g/l). An important finding was that the well-documented predictors for lead in blood at higher concentration levels, such as age, gender, menopausal status, and intake of alcohol, are still valid in a low-level exposure situation. In addition, a strong and negative correlation was found between blood lead concentrations and dietary supplementation with vitamins and minerals. CONCLUSIONS: The present data indicate that lead exposure may still constitute a health risk in a small proportion of adult men and postmenopausal women.
In a general practice, we examined 173 women under the age of 35 years who sought help for gynaecological or obstetric reasons, consecutively. 18% of all of the examinations for Chlamydia rendered positive results. Chlamydia infection was commonest in the younger age groups. The case histories and objective findings were unsuited for predicting which of the patients had Chlamydia infection. Routine examination for Chlamydia is recommended in women under 25 years in general practice.
BACKGROUND: The number needed to treat (NNT) has been widely recommended for communicating benefits from risk reductions. It has been claimed that NNT is easily understood and that it has intuitive meaning. There are, however, only few studies of lay people's understanding of NNT. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to explore whether lay people are sensitive to the magnitude of treatment effectiveness as expressed in terms of NNT, and whether the sensitivity is influenced by variation in the type of health outcome, variation in patients' payment for the treatment or variation in the type of side effects. METHODS: In total, 2326 non-institutionalized Danes aged 18-91 years were interviewed face to face and asked whether they would consent to a treatment against a somewhat increased risk of death or heart attack. The respondents were allocated to different levels of effectiveness of treatment expressed as NNT of 10, 100, 200 or 400, different costs and different descriptions of adverse effects. RESULTS: The odds for consenting to therapy were little influenced by the magnitude of NNT, but were greater among married respondents and among those who had side effects presented in terms of headache and constipation. CONCLUSION: In this study, the respondents' choice of treatment was largely insensitive to the magnitude of NNT independently of variations in type of health outcome and costs. NNT may not be easily understood by lay people.
Research suggests opposite epidemiological forces in religion and health: (1). Faith seems to move mountains in the sense that religion is associated with positive health outcomes. (2). Mountains of bad health seem to move faith. We reflected on these forces in a population of 3000 young Danish twins in which all religiosity measures were associated with severe disease. We believe the reason for this novel finding is that the sample presents as a particularly secular population-based study and that the second epidemiological force has gained the upper hand in this sample. We suggest that all cross-sectional research on religion and health should be interpreted in light of such opposite epidemiological forces potentially diluting each other.
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