Anthropogenic acute chemical exposures have become an important socioeconomic and environmental factor on the national, regional and global level. They present an actual or potential danger to vital activity and health of large population groups and normal operation of the Biosphere and natural components. Hence a problem of prevention and elimination of acute technogenic exposures hazardous for human health has expanded beyond the medical competence and grown to a major environmental issue.
INTRODUCTION: Poisoning is a common cause of emergency visits and hospital admission in Western countries. The purpose of this study was to assess the incidence and type of toxic exposures presenting to emergency medical facilities in Iceland. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was prospective and included all patients with confirmed or suspected poisoning presenting to hospitals and rural medical centers providing emergency services in Iceland during the twelve-month period from April 2001 until March 2002. RESULTS: A total of 1,121 toxic exposures were documented representing an incidence of 3.91 cases per 1,000 inhabitants per year. The female to male ratio was 1.23. The majority of exposures (56.7%) occurred in the patient's home, 60% were deliberate, 72% had drugs and/or alcohol as their main cause, and 11% involved illicit drugs. Exposures to chemicals other than drugs were usually unintentional. CONCLUSION: Toxic exposures requiring emergency medical care are common in Iceland. Self-poisonings by ingestion of prescription drugs and/or alcohol accounted for the majority of cases.
To assess whether working in an industrial harbor where an oil tank exploded was associated with more airway symptoms and lower lung function in men 1.5 years later.
In a cross-sectional study of 180 men, 18 to 67 years old, airway symptoms and lung function among men who worked in the industrial harbor at the time of the explosion was compared with those of working men with residence more than 20 km away. Regression analyses are adjusted for smoking, occupational exposure, atopy, recent infection, and age.
Exposed men had significantly more upper (ORirritated nose = 2.89 [95% confidence interval = 1.31 to 6.37]) and lower (ORdyspnea uphill = 3.79 [95% confidence interval = 1.69 to 8.46]) airway symptoms, and some indication of more reversible airway obstruction than unexposed workers.
Men working in an area with an oil tank explosion had more airway symptoms and indication of more airway obstruction 1.5 years after the event.
The county of Värmland, Sweden, has shown a high frequency of multiple sclerosis in several investigations. It has been presented in three studies; a period prevalence study in 1925-1934, a mortality study during 1952-1992 and a prevalence investigation in 2002. The aim of this study was to investigate the pattern of industry in this high-risk area for multiple sclerosis. The three investigations were correlated with industry in 1913 and in the 1950s, all analyzed by the Kruskall-Wallis test. Select industries from wood-pulp, paper and iron/mechanical sectors were tested also in whole Sweden. The Spearman rank correlation was used for these data and forestry data in Värmland. In Värmland, industrial data from 1913 revealed that large sawmills were associated with the period prevalence in 1925-1934 and there was a possible correlation with the prevalence for 2002. Wood-pulp factories showed a possible association with the prevalence 1925-1934 and the mortality 1952-1992. Some industries in the 1950s were correlated with the prevalence 2002. Wood and paper industries in Sweden 1913 showed an association with the MS mortality 1952-1992. In summary, data on MS prevalence in Värmland and mortality both in Värmland and all Sweden from the past 100 years suggest an association with wood-related industries in 1913 and in the 1950s, whereas no consistent association was found for other industries.
Comparative research of environmental attitudes has concentrated on adults of Western countries, whereas knowledge of environmental consciousness of East European people is modest. This article compares anxiety that teenagers in Helsinki, Moscow and Tallinn express about environmental hazards and their health effects. The data (Helsinki, N = 1396; Moscow, N = 618; Tallinn, N = 1268) were collected in schools by questionnaires from pupils between 13 and 18 years in 1994-1995. Air pollution, water pollution and survival of plant and animal species were considered most worrying environmental threats in every city. Environmental concern was usually highest in Moscow, but the effects of pollution on an individual's health worried Estonian teenagers most. The worry was most consistent in Moscow, where sex, class level or opinion of the state of one's own living environment did not usually have an effect on attitudes. Finnish girls and pupils in higher school classes were environmentally more conscious than boys or younger teenagers. In Tallinn, the sex and age differences in worry were smaller. Environmental worry seemed to have connections to a general sense of responsibility and risk behaviour such as heavy drinking and smoking. For all sites those pupils who often throw empty packages onto the street or into the nature expressed lower environmental concern than their more responsible peers. The differences of worry between the cities were difficult to interpret, but the greater total concern of young Muscovites may be part of their general social anxiety, which is associated with the instability of the Russian society.
1,687 registered captains and mates from a Norwegian census in 1970 were monitored up to 1987. By matching the data from the census with data from the Norwegian Cancer Registry we discovered 104 cases of cancer. A control group of 376 was chosen among those without cancer. A nested case-control study design was used. The material was analysed using multivariate logistic regression. Increased risk of developing cancer was found in the group of seamen who had been working on tankers, especially among seamen who had been working as mate on these tankers. Exposure to chemicals is the major factor distinguishing tankers from other ships. Mates are exposed to chemicals while captains are not. The study indicates the presence of carcinogenic agents on these tankers.
Descriptive and analytical study of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been first-ever carried out in population of Volgograd city, South region of Russian Federation. At the period of the study (1996-2000) the population was estimated as 814 100 adult persons. An average age-adjusted level of MS prevalence was 31.9 per 100,000, MS incidence--9.8, mortality 1,8. Thus, the city is at a moderate risk for MS, however the incidence of the disease appeared to be rather high that indicates a further increase of MS patients number in this population. The highest level of MS prevalence was registered in two districts with poor ecological characteristics and numerous industries: Krasnoarmeysky (52.4 per 100,000 persons) and Krasnooktiabrsky (46.4). An analytical case-control study included data collected from 178 pairs (73.6% female) of MS patients and controls matched for age, sex and ethnic origin. Significant differences between patients and controls were detected as follows: patients more often had blue eyes as compared to dark ones; in the patient group mother's age at birth was above 30 years; patients more often lived near chemical and/or oil factories at age before 15 years; they more often reported a presence of stress factors in the family and chronic tonsillitis. Association with other factors, including infections, nutrition, acute and chronic diseases, poisoning, traumas, family history of different diseases, contact with animals etc, has not been found. A possible association between environmental factors and features of MS course were analyzed. Living near chemical factories at age before 15 was associated with more active MS course, i.e. high frequency of progressive course, short period from MS onset to confirmed EDSS=3, short duration of first remission. The same, though less significant, influence may exert the presence of herpes infection and chronic tonsillitis at age under 15.
The aim of the study was to evaluate reproductive health of descendants of people who experienced effects of adverse environmental factors, such as radiation and chemical contamination (the descendants themselves were unaffected by these factors). Reproductive health of women was assessed by mathematical modeling. Factors of greatest importance for the health status of the descendants were distinguished among the 76 ones studied. It was shown that reproductive health of the subjects descending from the people exposed to radiation deteriorated more significantly than of those whose ancestors were affected by chemical factors.