Although increases in inhalable particle (PM10) concentrations have been associated with acute reductions in the level of lung function and increased symptom reporting in children, including children with asthma, it is not clear whether these effects occur largely in asthmatic children, or even whether asthmatic children are more likely to experience these effects than children without asthma. To address these points, the following subgroups of children were selected from a survey population of all 2,200 elementary school children (6 to 13 yr of age) in a pulp mill community on the west coast of Vancouver Island: (1) all children with physician-diagnosed asthma (n = 75 participated), (2) all children with an exercise-induced fall in FEV1 without diagnosed asthma (n = 57), (3) all children with airway obstruction (FEV1/FVC
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify possible health effects caused by different cleaning agents used in graffiti removal. METHODS: In 38 graffiti removers working 8-h shifts in the Stockholm underground system, the exposure to organic solvents was assessed by active air sampling, biological monitoring, and by interviews and a questionnaire. Health effects were registered, by physical examinations, porta7ble spirometers and self-administered questionnaires. The prevalence of symptoms was compared with 49 controls working at the underground depots, and with 177 population controls. RESULTS: The 8-h time-weighted average exposures (TWA) were low, below 20% of the Swedish permissible exposure limit value (PEL) for all solvents. The short-term exposures occasionally exceeded the Swedish short-term exposure limit values (STEL), especially during work in poorly ventilated spaces, e.g. in elevators. The graffiti removers reported significantly higher prevalence of tiredness and upper airway symptoms compared with the depot controls, and significantly more tiredness, headaches and symptoms affecting airways, eyes and skin than the population controls. Among the graffiti removers, some of the symptoms increased during the working day. On a group basis, the lung function registrations showed normal values. However, seven workers displayed a clear reduction of peak expiratory flow (PEF) over the working shift. CONCLUSIONS: Though their average exposure to organic solvents was low, the graffiti removers reported significantly higher prevalence of unspecific symptoms such as fatigue and headache as well as irritative symptoms from the eyes and respiratory tract, compared with the controls. To prevent adverse health effects it is important to inform the workers about the health risks, and to restrict use of the most hazardous chemicals. Furthermore, it is important to develop good working practices and to encourage the use of personal protective equipment.
The risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) within different occupations was studied, using occupational information obtained from the Swedish 1970 census. Follow-up in the Swedish Cancer Register was carried out from 1971 to 1984. Among male petrol station attendants, 10 cases were observed versus 2.8 expected (observed/expected = 3.6, 95% confidence interval 1.7-6.6). For several decades, Swedish petrol has contained 3-5% of benzene. Thus, a hypothesis was that benzene had contributed to the excess risk. The work histories of the 10 cases were reconstructed through interviews with surviving relatives and were compatible with the hypothesis. However, because the air benzene exposures at petrol stations always have been lower than benzene exposures associated previously with an increased risk of AML, the leukemogenic effect of benzene may have been potentiated by other petrol or vehicle exhaust components.
Comment In: Arch Environ Health. 1996 Nov-Dec;51(6):469-719012330
Daily symptom rates in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and in other subjects with presumed high sensitivity to air pollution who lived near a coal-fired plant were compared with 24-hr ambient air concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, soot, and suspended particles as well as with emissions from the plant. The mean concentrations of each of the pollutants during the 4-month study period were below 30 micrograms/m3, and no single 24-hr concentration exceeded 100 micrograms/m3. There were no consistent associations between plant emissions and pollutant levels or between these two variables and daily symptom rates. The results indicate that the coal-fired plant was not of major importance for the occurrence of acute respiratory symptoms in the surrounding population.
Occurrence of airway irritation among indoor swimming pool personnel was investigated. The aims of this study were to assess trichloramine exposure levels and exhaled nitric oxide in relation to the prevalence of airway symptoms in swimming pool facilities and to determine protein effects in the upper respiratory tract.
The presence of airway symptoms related to work was examined in 146 individuals working at 46 indoor swimming pool facilities. Levels of trichloramine, as well as exhaled nitric oxide, were measured in five facilities with high prevalence of airway irritation and four facilities with no airway irritation among the personnel. Nasal lavage fluid was collected, and protein profiles were determined by a proteomic approach.
17 % of the swimming pool personnel reported airway symptoms related to work. The levels of trichloramine in the swimming pool facilities ranged from 0.04 to 0.36 mg/m(3). There was no covariance between trichloramine levels, exhaled nitric oxide and prevalence of airway symptoms. Protein profiling of the nasal lavage fluid showed that the levels alpha-1-antitrypsin and lactoferrin were significantly higher, and S100-A8 was significantly lower in swimming pool personnel.
This study confirms the occurrence of airway irritation among indoor swimming pool personnel. Our results indicate altered levels of innate immunity proteins in the upper airways that may pose as potential biomarkers. However, swimming pool facilities with high prevalence of airway irritation could not be explained by higher trichloramine exposure levels. Further studies are needed to clarify the environmental factors in indoor swimming pools that cause airway problems and affect the immune system.
While regulations for workplace lead exposure become more strict, their effectiveness in decreasing blood lead concentrations and the method by which this is attained have not been evaluated.
An analysis was conducted of 10,190 blood lead samples from employees of 10 high-risk workplaces collected in Manitoba, 1979-87, as part of regulated occupational surveillance.
A significant decrease in blood lead concentrations was observed overall as well as for each individual company. A 1979 government regulation to reduce blood lead to below 3.38 mumol/L (70 micrograms/dl) was followed by a drop in blood lead concentrations; a 1983 order to reduce blood leads to below 2.90 mumol/L (60 micrograms/dl) was not followed by such a drop. Longitudinal analysis by individual workers suggested that companies were complying by use of administrative control, i.e., removing workers to lower lead areas until blood lead levels had fallen, then returning them to high lead areas.
Focusing upon blood lead as the sole criterion for compliance is not effective; regulations must specifically require environmental monitoring and controls. Biological surveillance serves as "back-up" to environmental surveillance and this database illustrates the usefulness of a comprehensive centralized surveillance system.
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The risk of neoplastic disease, primarily lung cancer, induced by occupational, inhalation exposure to nonorganic arsenic was assessed. In order to identify individual risk in the linear dose-response relationship which would serve as a basis for the risk assessment among persons exposed occupationally, the author also analysed the latest epidemiological studies performed in Sweden, as well as repeated analyses of American studies. This allowed to diminish individual risk by several times. It is thought that a diminished value of individual risk is, in the light of the most up-to-date epidemiological studies, closer to the reality than the value proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Having the value of individual risk related to occupational exposure, equal 1.79 x 10(-4), lung cancer risk after forty years of employment under the exposure level within the range of currently binding MAC values for arsenic (0.05 mg/m3) accounts for 8.95 x 10(-3), thus slightly exceeding the adopted value of 1 x 10(3). Whereas a new value, proposed by the Expert Group for Chemical Factors of the International Commission for Updating the list of MAC and MAI values in 1996, equals 0.01, so the risk for a forty-year employment accounts for 1.79 x 10(-3), in fact the value corresponding to that already approved. In addition, the assessment indicated that smoking increases by 4-6 times the risk of lung cancer induced by exposure to arsenic.
Any review of the scientific evidence on which public policy is based must commence with a cautionary statement about the quality of the available data both about dust and about asbestos-related disease. Attention is drawn to some of the main problems. It is concluded that, in spite of their shortcomings, the data are sufficiently consistent to be useful in relation to some aspects of the problem of environmental control of the asbestos hazard. The question whether or not there is a threshold dose of fibre below which no biological effect occurs is of considerable importance in framing public policy. The evidence concerning the existence or otherwise of a threshold in relation to the different asbestos-related diseases is summarized. A summary is also given of the evidence about the shape of the dose-response curves for asbestos-related diseases in man. The paper concludes with a note on how scientific data may be summarized in a manner which may be helpful in formulating public policy with regard to a control limit.
Assessment of the occupational chemical risk of new industries and the development of measures for its mitigation is a priority task to ensure chemical safety in Russia. There was performed the assessment of the chemical risk in the manufacture of new types of refractories--periclase-carbon refractories, using organic binder) on the base of data of hygiene studies, indices of morbidity rates in workers and also of the investigation of the impact of such refractory dust on laboratory animals (intratracheal introduction). The main factors for chemical risk to the workers' health are magnesium oxide, volatile products of phenol-formaldehyde resins, silicon-containing dust, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and in the use of a binder "Carbores"--benzo (a) pyrene and pitch cokes of the carbon dust. In employees of such industry there is recorded the elevated morbidity rate of diseases of upper respiratory rates. Dust of this type has on the body of animals general toxic and mild fibrogenic effect. According to the results of the assessment of the chemical risk measures have been developed for its mitigation in the workplace.