Asbestos has been used extensively in a variety of occupations. In the jewelry industry, inadequate hygiene practices may often go unrecognized with resultant exposure to hazardous amounts of asbestos. We report on four retired jewelers. Two of these had both pleural and parenchymal changes. One had isolated pleural plaques and the final patient showed only parenchymal infiltrates. Their work involved hand cutting asbestos plates used for protection during soldering. In the soldering process asbestos fibers were then blown into the workroom air as the plates broke down. In addition, at the end of each work day the workroom floor was swept, with subsequent airborne asbestos dust distribution. Any patient with pleural plaques or interstitial lung disease should be questioned about potential sources of asbestos exposure in the past, regardless of present employment status.
In arctic Norway, where there is a lack of specialists in pulmonary medicine two postgraduate students, already qualified as specialists in internal medicine at Tromsø Regional Hospital, applied to continue their training at their respective local hospitals. The regional hospital in Tromsø has a long tradition of telemedicine, with network links to local hospitals in the region, and is equipped for interactive consultation and the bilateral transmission of x-rays and video recordings, and digital transmission of x-rays. Accordingly, supported by their supervisor, the two postgraduate students applied to the committee for postgraduate education in pulmonary medicine to have a year's work at their respective local hospitals, supervised via the telemedicine facilities, accepted as equivalent to a six-month module of the normal syllabus. The project was approved and executed as planned. The registrars, who were responsible for pulmonary service at their local hospitals, served four days a month at the regional hospital, and their supervisor visited the local hospitals one day each month. All internal education at the regional hospital was made available by means of a weekly interactive televised link-up, x-rays being displayed on screen as transmitted digitally; bronchoscopies were shown by video, and ad hoc tutorials arranged as needed. Evaluated by the national committee, the project was found satisfactory, and the registrars were duly qualified.
The authors provide the results of clinical, x-ray, functional and specific allergological examinations made in 396 cutters. Characterize the main forms of occupational respiratory pathology--pneumoconiosis and chronic bronchitis. Haptene metals (chromium, nickel, manganese) contained by the industrial aerosol were established to produce a sensitizing action on the body. The data obtained may be of importance for the diagnosis and prevention of occupational diseases in cutters, expert medical evaluation of the working capacity and follow-up of the patients.
Proposals for diagnostic methods and clinical evaluation of occupational lung and pleural diseases have been worked out by a Working Group appointed by the Norwegian Thoracic Society and the Norwegian Society of Occupational Medicine. The management of this group of diseases demands both an evaluation of occupational exposure and a specific pulmonary diagnosis. Recommendations were made especially for obstructive, interstitial, and malignant diseases.
Transfusion-related acute lung injury is a relatively uncommon transfusion-associated adverse effect occurring during or soon after an allogeneic blood transfusion. Transfusion-related acute lung injury is a complex syndrome that has many manifestations and has only recently been identified to be an important cause of transfusion-associated morbidity and mortality. But despite its increasing recognition, much about the pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention is poorly understood and often controversial. The purpose of this consensus conference was to bring together international experts in an effort to try to standardize a case definition, which could be used to enhance future understanding of transfusion-related acute lung injury including its epidemiology, pathogenesis, management, prevention, and research. These proceedings are being provided with a view to making available to the transfusion medicine community the considerable amount of important information presented at this consensus conference by the invited international panel of experts.
To assess the appropriateness of the current Canadian standards for exposure to grain dust in the workplace.
The current permissible exposure limit of 10 mg of total grain dust per cubic metre of air (expressed as mg/m3) as an 8-hour time-weighted average exposure, or a lower permissible exposure limit.
Acute symptoms of grain-dust exposure, such as cough, phlegm production, wheezing and dyspnea, similar chronic symptoms, and spirometric deficits revealing obstructive or restrictive disease.
Articles published from 1924 to December 1993 were identified from Index Medicus and the bibliographies of pertinent articles. Subsequent articles published from 1994 (when the recommendations were approved by the Canadian Thoracic Society Standards Committee) to June 1996 were retrieved through a search of MEDLINE, and modification of the recommendations was not found to be necessary. Studies of interest were those that linked measurements of total grain dust levels to the development of acute and chronic respiratory symptoms and changes in lung function in exposed workers. Papers on the effects of grain dust on workers in feed mills were not included because other nutrients such as animal products may have been added to the grain. Unpublished reports (e.g., to Labour Canada) were included as sources of information.
A high value was placed on minimizing the biological harm that grain dust has on the lungs of grain workers.
A permissible exposure limit of 5 mg/m3 would control the short-term effects of exposure to grain dust on workers. Evidence is insufficient to determine what level is needed to prevent long-term effects. The economic implications of implementing a lower permissible exposure limit have not been evaluated.
The current Canadian standards for grain-dust exposure should be reviewed by Labour Canada and the grain industry. A permissible exposure level of 5 mg/m3 is recommended to control short-term effects. Further measurements that link the levels of exposure to respiratory health effects in workers across Canada should be collected to establish an exposure-response relation and possible regional differences in the effects of grain dust.
There has been no external review of these recommendations. However, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists has recommended an 8-hour average exposure limit of 4 mg/m3 for wheat, oats and barley.
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