Exposure to organic solvents has been suggested to cause or exacerbate renal disease, but methodologic concerns regarding previous studies preclude firm conclusions. We examined the role of organic solvents in a population-based case-control study of early-stage chronic renal failure (CRF). All native Swedish residents aged 18 to 74 yr, living in Sweden between May 1996 and May 1998, formed the source population. Incident cases of CRF in a pre-uremic stage (n = 926) and control subjects (n = 998), randomly selected from the study base, underwent personal interviews that included a detailed occupational history. Expert rating by a certified occupational hygienist was used to assess organic solvent exposure intensity and duration. Relative risks were estimated by odds ratios (OR) in logistic regression models, with adjustment for potentially important covariates. The overall risk for CRF among subjects ever exposed to organic solvents was virtually identical to that among never-exposed (OR, 1.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81 to 1.25). No dose-response relationships were observed for lifetime cumulative solvent exposure, average dose, or exposure frequency or duration. The absence of association pertained to all subgroups of CRF: glomerulonephritis (OR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.68 to 1.34), diabetic nephropathy (OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.41), renal vascular disease (OR, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.76 to 1.75), and other renal CRF (OR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.27). The results from a nationwide, population-based study do not support the hypothesis of an adverse effect of organic solvents on CRF development, in general. Detrimental effects from subclasses of solvents or on specific renal diseases cannot be ruled out.
An increasing number of plants for re-use of refuse have been constructed in Denmark in recent years. The Kaastrup Plant near Skive was opened in spring 1986. The plant accepts household rubbish and industrial refuse separately. The refuse is sorted by machine (industrial refuse is sorted partially manually) and in a large partially open machine plant, refuse is converted into fuel pellets. During a period of eight months, eight out of 15 employees developed respiratory symptoms. In seven, bronchial asthma was diagnosed and chronic bronchitis in one person. Four had initial symptoms of the organic dust toxic syndrome. After further six months, another case of occupationally-conditioned asthma occurred in the plant. Only two out of nine had previously had asthma or atopic disease. The investigation did not reveal any evidence of type-I allergy. Six out of nine had specific precipitating antibodies to refuse while all had negative RAST tests to this. In spring 1989, from six to eighteen months after the onset of the symptoms, six had still dyspnoea on exertion and three had positive histamine-provocation tests and seven out of nine had left the plant. Occupational medical measurements revealed dust concentrations of 8.1 mg/cubic millimeter in September 1986 and total germs of up to 3 x 10(9) cfu/cubic meter. Construction of the plant involved considerable contact with the refuse on account of the cleansing processes and open systems and it was reconstructed in the course of 1987/1988 so that the hygienic conditions are now acceptable.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
BACKGROUND: Stress, strain, and fatigue at the workplace have previously not been studied in relation to acoustic conditions. AIMS: To examine the influence of different acoustic conditions on the work environment and the staff in a coronary critical care unit (CCU). METHOD: Psychosocial work environment data from start and end of each individual shift were obtained from three shifts (morning, afternoon, and night) for a one-week baseline period and for two four-week periods during which either sound reflecting or sound absorbing tiles were installed. RESULTS: Reverberation times and speech intelligibility improved during the study period when the ceiling tiles were changed from sound reflecting tiles to sound absorbing ones of identical appearance. Improved acoustics positively affected the work environment; the afternoon shift staff experienced significantly lower work demands and reported less pressure and strain. CONCLUSIONS: Important gains in the psychosocial work environment of healthcare can be achieved by improving room acoustics. The study points to the importance of further research on possible effects of acoustics in healthcare on staff turnover, quality of patient care, and medical errors.
Prolonged occupational standing has previously been associated with low back pain (LBP) development. The immediate effects of a bout of prolonged standing on subsequent functional movement performance have not been investigated. It is possible that including a period of prolonged standing may have acute, detrimental effects. The purpose of the study is to investigate the impact of a prolonged standing exposure on biomechanical profiles (trunk muscle activation, joint stiffness and kinematics) during three functional movements. A total of 23 volunteers without history of LBP performed lumbar flexion, single-leg stance and unloaded squat movements pre- and post 2 h of standing exposure. It was found that 40% of the participants developed LBP during the standing exposure. There was a decrease in vertebral joint rotation stiffness in lateral bending and increased centre of pressure excursion during unilateral stance following standing exposure. There may be adverse effects to prolonged standing if followed by activities requiring precise balance or resistance of side loads. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: Prolonged standing may result in decreases in balance reactions during narrow base conditions as well as in the capacity to effectively resist side-loads at the trunk. Consideration should be given when prolonged standing is included in the workplace.
Endotoxin is a cell wall component from Gram-negative bacteria, and inhaled endotoxin contributes significantly to the induction of airway inflammation and dysfunction. Background levels of endotoxin have not yet been extensively described. In this study, airborne endotoxin was measured with a standardized protocol in 5 types of background environment (169 samples) in Denmark from October to May. Endotoxin levels in a greenhouse (median = 13.2 EU/m3) were significantly higher than in the other environments. The air from biofuel plants (median = 5.3 EU/m3), the air on congested streets (median = 4.4 EU/m3) and on an agricultural field (median = 2.9 EU/m3) had higher endotoxin contents than the air in industrial areas (median = 1.3 EU/m3) or in towns (median = 0.33 EU/m3). Levels in industrial areas were significantly higher than in towns. A literature study revealed background levels of endotoxin on different continents between 0.063-410 EU/m3, with median or mean values between 0.063-3.6 EU/m3. Endotoxin concentrations in towns and industrial areas were higher in April and May than in autumn and winter, and were higher in October than in winter. These data of exposure in background environments and of seasonal variation are helpful for public health practitioners, epidemiologists and industrial hygienists.