The aims were to assess the impact of a total smoking ban on the level of airborne contaminants and the urinary cotinine levels in the employees in bars and restaurants. In a follow up design, 13 bars and restaurants were visited before and after the implementation of a smoking ban. Ninety-three employees in the establishments were initially included into the study. The arithmetic mean concentration of nicotine and total dust declined from 28.3 microg m(-3) (range, 0.4-88.0) and 262 microg m(-3) (range, 52-662), respectively, to 0.6 microg m(-3) (range, not detected-3.7) and 77 microg m(-3) (range, not detected-261) after the smoking ban. The Pearson correlation coefficient between airborne nicotine and total dust was 0.86 (p
In a cross-sectional study, 96 welders were compared with 96 control subjects. Also 27 former welders, all diagnosed as having manganism, were examined. Exposure to welding fumes was determined in the 96 welders, while the concentration of elements in whole blood and urine was determined in all subjects. The geometric mean (GM) concentrations of manganese (Mn) and iron in the workroom air were 97 microg m(-3) (range 3-4620 microg m(-3); n=188) and 894 microg m(-3) (range 106-20 300 microg m(-3); n=188), respectively. Thus the Mn concentration in the workroom air was on average 10.6% (GM) of that of the Fe concentration. No substantial difference was observed in the air Mn concentrations when welding mild steel as compared to welding stainless steel. The arithmetic mean (AM) concentration of Mn in whole blood (B-Mn) was about 25% higher in the welders compared to the controls (8.6 vs. 6.9 microg l(-1); p
Allergy to indoor allergens can cause frequent and severe health problems in children. Because little is known about the content of allergens in the indoor environments in Norway, we wanted to assess the levels of cat, dog and mite allergens in schools and day-care centers in Oslo. Allergen levels in dust samples from 155 classrooms and 81 day-care units were measured using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. Additionally, we measured the levels of endotoxin in 31 day-care units, using the limulus amebocyte lysate test. Most of the dust samples contained detectable amounts of cat and dog allergens. In mattress and floor dust (day-care centers), and curtain and floor dust (schools) the median Fel d 1 levels were 0.17, 0.002, 0.02 and 0.079 microg/m2, while the median Can f 1 levels were 1.7, 0.03, 0.1 and 0.69 microg/m2, respectively. Levels of cat and dog allergens in school floor dust were associated with the number of pupils with animals at home. In contrast,
Ambient air pollution with flour dust (FD) and microorganisms, including microscopic fungi, was studied; the single concentrations of FD under emission plumes were 0.12-0.17 mg/m3; the total content of mould, field, and storage fungi was 700 +/- 30, 671 +/- 19, and 29 +/- 3, respectively. The maximum allowable concentrations for FD were ascertained; the equal ones were the maximum single concentration of 1.0; the daily average concentration was 0.4 mg/m3; hazard class IV; the limiting hazard index was their resorptive activity.
The exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) was measured in a Finnish coking plant over a 7-year period (1988-1994), since the beginning of production. Hygienic measurements including dust and vapour sampling were performed and the correlations between the concentrations of airborne pyrene with the levels of pyrene metabolite 1-pyrenol in urine were calculated. The profile of measured 12 or 15 PAHs was very similar between mean concentrations of personal samples, which suggests that it is possible to calculate the concentrations of total PAH by using e.g. pyrene as a marker compound. Measurements suggest that the progress of working conditions has been very favourable because the mean exposure level of shift workers to benzo[a]pyrene has decreased from 2.5 micrograms/m3 to 0.3 micrograms/m3. This points to successful measures of technical prevention. The mean concentration of 1-pyrenol in urine has been 0.2-0.6 mumol/mol creatinine. The concentration increases slightly towards the end of the working day, but the correlation urinary pyrenol and air pyrene was weak. Therefore the usefulness of pyrenol level for predicting the pyrene concentration at low exposure level in the ambient air is very limited.
To protect the health of those occupationally exposed to respirable crystalline silica, the main industries in European Union associated with exposure to respirable silica, agreed on appropriate measures for the improvement of working conditions through the application of good practices, as part of 'The Agreement on Workers Health Protection through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silica and Products Containing it' (NEPSI agreement), signed in April 2006. The present paper examines trends in exposure to respirable crystalline silica in Finland prior to and following the implementation of the NEPSI agreement and includes a working example of the NEPSI approach in the concrete industry. Data derived from workplace exposure assessments during the years 1994-2013 are presented, including 2556 air samples collected mostly indoors, from either the breathing zone of workers or from stationary points usually at a height of 1.5 m above the floor, with the aim to estimate average exposure of workers to respiratory crystalline silica during an 8-h working day. The aim was, to find out how effective this unique approach has been in the management of one of the major occupational hazards in the concerned industries. Application of good practices as described by the NEPSI agreement coincides with a strong decline in the exposure to respirable crystalline silica in Finnish workplaces, as represented by the clientele of Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. During the years followed in the present study, we see a >10-fold decrease in the average and median exposures to respirable silica. Prior to the implementation of the NEPSI agreement, >50% of the workplace measurements yielded results above the OEL8 h (0.2mg m(-3)). As of present (2013), circa 10% of the measurements are above of or identical to the OEL8 h (0.05mg m(-3)).
Determination of the source and form of metals in house dust is important to those working to understand human and particularly childhood exposure to metals in residential environments. We report the development of a synchrotron microprobe technique for characterization of multiple metal hosts in house dust. We have applied X-ray fluorescence for chemical characterization and X-ray diffraction for crystal structure identification using microfocused synchrotron X-rays at a less than 10 µm spot size. The technique has been evaluated by application to archived house dust samples containing elevated concentrations of Pb, Zn, and Ba in bedroom dust, and Pb and As in living room dust. The technique was also applied to a sample of soil from the corresponding garden to identify linkages between indoor and outdoor sources of metals. Paint pigments including white lead (hydrocerussite) and lithopone (wurtzite and barite) are the primary source of Pb, Zn, and Ba in bedroom dust, probably related to renovation activity in the home at the time of sampling. The much lower Pb content in the living room dust shows a relationship to the exterior soil and no specific evidence of Pb and Zn from the bedroom paint pigments. The technique was also successful at confirming the presence of chromated copper arsenate treated wood as a source of As in the living room dust. The results of the study have confirmed the utility of this approach in identifying specific metal forms within the dust.
The environmental relative moldiness index (ERMI) metric was previously developed to quantify mold contamination in U.S. homes. This study determined the applicability of the ERMI for quantifying mold and moisture damage in Finnish residences. Homes of the LUKAS2 birth cohort in Finland were visually inspected for moisture damage and mold, and vacuumed floor dust samples were collected. An ERMI analysis including 36 mold-specific quantitative PCR assays was performed on the dust samples (n = 144), and the ERMI metric was analyzed against inspection-based observations of moisture damage and mold. Our results show that the ERMI was significantly associated with certain observations of visible mold in Finnish homes but not with moisture damage. Several mold species occurred more frequently and at higher levels in Finnish than in U.S. homes. Modification of the ERMI toward Finnish conditions, using a subsample of LUKAS2 homes with and without moisture damage, resulted in a simplified metric based on 10 mold species. The Finnish ERMI (FERMI) performed substantially better in quantifying moisture and mold damage in Finnish homes, showing significant associations with various observations of visible mold, strongest when the damage was located in the child's main living area, as well as with mold odor and moisture damage. As shown in Finland, the ERMI as such is not equally well usable in different climates and geographic regions but may be remodeled to account for local outdoor and indoor fungal conditions as well as for moisture damage characteristics in a given country.