All 291 fatal accidents (510 persons on board, 318 drowned) in water traffic in Finland in 1986-1988 were investigated by specific teams. Only some data of this extensive investigation are presented in this study. Staggering and falling in boat because of drunkenness, falling over and sinking of boat were the main causes of getting into water of the people aboard. Only 3.5% of the drowned had used life jackets and 9.7% of them could not swim. The reduced ability to swim because of alcohol and the exhaustion were in about half of the drowned the actual cause and the cold water in one third the background factor for drowning. The results indicate that fatal accidents in water traffic are a major problem of males (95.9%) and give important information for countermeasures.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined the relationship between exposure to the Exxon Valdez oil spill and subsequent cleanup efforts and the prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depressive symptoms in 13 Alaska communities. METHOD: A community survey of 599 men and women was conducted approximately 1 year after the spill occurred. Questions from the National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule were used to assess symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale was used to assess levels of depressive symptoms. RESULTS: The post-spill (i.e., 1-year) prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD for the study communities with all degrees of exposure was 20.2% and 9.4%, respectively. The prevalence of respondents with CES-D Scale scores above 16 and 18 was 16.6% and 14.2%, respectively. When compared with the unexposed group, members of the high-exposure group were 3.6 times as likely to have generalized anxiety disorder, 2.9 times as likely to have PTSD, 1.8 times as likely to have a CES-D Scale score of 16 and above, and 2.1 times as likely to have a CES-D Scale score of 18 and above. Women exposed to this event were particularly vulnerable to these conditions, and Alaska Natives were particularly vulnerable to depressive symptoms after the oil spill. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the oil spill's impact on the psychosocial environment was as significant as its impact on the physical environment. The Exxon Valdez experience suggests a number of implications for the mental health needs of disaster victims, particularly in primary care settings.
Aerosolized crab allergens are suspected etiologic agents for asthma among crab-processing workers. The objectives of this study were to characterize crab allergen concentrations and respiratory symptom prevalence among processing workers aboard crab-processing vessels. A cross-sectional survey of five crab-processing vessels was conducted near Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Crab allergen concentrations were quantified during specific work activities with 25 personal air samples collected on polytetrafluoroethylene filters and analyzed by a competitive IgE immunoassay technique. Two standardized respiratory questionnaires were used to assess respiratory symptoms suggestive of bronchitis or asthma in 82 workers. Aerosolized crab allergen concentrations ranged from 79 ng/m3 to 21,093 ng/m3 (mean = 2797 ng/m3, SD = 4576 ng/m3). The highest concentrations were measured at butchering/degilling work stations, which were combined on the smallest vessel. A significant percentage of workers reported development of respiratory symptoms during the crab-processing season. Cough developed in 28% of workers, phlegm in 11% of workers, and wheeze and other asthma-like symptoms developed in 4% of workers. Despite variations in crab allergen levels, respiratory symptom prevalence was similar across all job categories. Substantial concentrations of crab allergen exposure were measured, as well as the potential for wide variability in exposure during crab processing aboard vessels. The high prevalence of reported respiratory symptoms across all job categories suggests potential adverse respiratory effects that should be further characterized by prospective studies using pulmonary function and serology testing, and rigorous exposure characterization.
Prior studies have indicated a high prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) among Navy personnel; however, it is not clear whether this is caused by work on board. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of hearing loss among Navy personnel in the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN), and to investigate whether there is an association between work on board RNoN vessels and occurrence of hearing loss.
Navy personnel currently working on board RNoN vessels were recruited to complete a questionnaire on noise exposure and health followed by pure tone audiometry. Hearing loss was defined as hearing threshold levels =25 dB in either ear at the frequencies 3,000, 4,000 or 6,000 Hz. Hearing thresholds were adjusted for age and gender using ISO 7029.
The prevalence of hearing loss among Navy personnel was 31.4 %. The work exposure variables: years of work in the Navy, years on vessel(s) in the Navy and years of sailing in the Navy were associated with reduced hearing after adjusting for age, gender and otitis as an adult. Among the work exposure variables, years of sailing in the Navy was the strongest predictor of reduced hearing, and significantly reduced hearing was found at the frequencies 1,000, 3,000 and 4,000 Hz.
Our results indicate that time spent on board vessels in the RNoN is a predictor of reduced hearing.
Asthma is common in elite athletes, but our knowledge of asthma in elite canoe and kayak athletes is limited. The aim of the present prospective cross-sectional study was therefore to investigate the prevalence of asthma, including asthma-like symptoms, exhaled nitric oxide, and airway reactivity to mannitol in Danish elite canoe and kayak athletes
The study group consisted of 29 (of 33 eligible) elite athletes aged 17-43 years, and the examination programme consisted of questionnaires, including the Asthma Control Questionnaire, fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO), spirometry and airway reactivity to mannitol. Asthma was defined as a history of doctor-diagnosed asthma and/or elevated FENO and airway reactivity.
Seven of the elite athletes (24.1%) were found to have asthma, including four subjects with previously doctor-diagnosed asthma. Of the four athletes (all treated with inhaled corticosteroids) with doctor-diagnosed asthma, all reported asthma-symptoms and two had elevated FENO, but none had airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to mannitol. All three athletes with previously undiagnosed asthma had elevated FENO and AHR to mannitol, but reported no asthma-like symptoms.
Asthma is common in elite canoe and kayak athletes, and classical signs of asthmatic airway inflammation are also found in asymptomatic athletes.
Fall injuries constitute a significant problem in commercial fishing and such injuries have hitherto not been the subject of closer analysis.
The distribution and the characteristics of 582 occupational injuries among commercial fishermen are described by using data from an emergency department for the period 1990-1997, recorded in a special registration system.
Consistent with other investigations, injuries from falls made up 25% of all injuries; they were the cause of 28% of all contusions, 32% of all fractures, 61% of all sprains and strains, 40% of all injuries to lower extremities, and 62% of all injuries to the chest. The proportion of fall injuries in different age groups was U-shaped and constitutes around 40% for men both under 20 years and over 50 years of age, and around 20% for those between these ages. Frequent types of injury mechanisms other than falls and slips were: getting caught (22%), contact with objects or persons (28%), foreign body (9%), and cuts (9%).
Use of proportionate data gave a detailed description of injuries from falls and slips, showing important areas for prevention. To avoid a possible misclassification of fall injuries in future studies, it is recommended to include an extra specific variable: whether falling or slipping preceded the crash phase of the injury or not.
Containerized cargo shipment makes up the backbone of international trade. The principal aim of this cross-sectional study was to establish a qualitative and quantitative description of gaseous fumigants and volatile off-gassing substances facing workers tasked with entering shipping containers. A total of 372 packed and 119 empty shipping containers were sampled in six ports and two distribution centers in Sweden. Fourier-transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR) and photoionization detection (PID) were the analytical methods applied to the bulk of samples. A small number of adsorbent samples were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The results were compared to Swedish occupational exposure limits (OELs), the closest parallel to relevant work situations. Based on the FTIR analyses, 30 of 249 (12%) containers arrived with concentrations of fumigants and off-gassing substances above the 8-h OELs and close to 7% were above the short-term exposure limits. Eight detected chemicals were classified as carcinogens and 4% of the containers arrived with levels of carcinogens above the OELs, at a maximum 30 times the 8-h OEL. Considerable differences were observed between ports, ranging from 0 to 33% of containers arriving with concentrations above the OELs. It is believed that all observation results, apart from a single instance of a confirmed fumigant, phosphine, at 3 p.p.m., and possibly three instances of carbon dioxide, can be attributed to off-gassing substances. The FTIR methodology proved useful for quick preliminary checks and in-depth screening and identification. The PID method produced both false-negative and false-positive results where only 48% matched the FTIR observations. Adsorbent sampling with GC-MS analysis was useful for confirming volatile organic compounds but was deemed too slow for day-to-day screening. The high frequency of contaminated containers, the detection of several carcinogens, and the sporadic occurrences of high levels of fumigants are serious concerns that need to be properly recognized in order to protect the workers at risk.
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The objective of this study was to find a model to describe the relationship between the occurrence of pleural plaques and exposure to asbestos. A simple model based on the cumulative exposure was postulated and empirically tested on shipyard workers occupationally exposed to asbestos. Exposure time was used to approximate the cumulative dose. It was found that the incidence of pleural plaques could be described as K(t-w)a where 't' is time since onset of exposure; 'K' is a constant that would depend on the level of asbestos exposure; 'w' is a latency period and was around 13 years; 'a' is a constant that was 0.4. In subgroups of the workers, i.e. plumbers, fitters and platers, 'a' was 0.4, 0.6 and 0.2 respectively.
The prevalence of asbestos-related radiographic abnormalities was surveyed among Finnish construction, shipyard, and asbestos industry workers.
The radiographic screening focused on active and retired workers who were under the age of 70 years and had been employed for at least 10 years in construction or for at least 1 year in shipyards or in the asbestos industry. In 1990-1992, 18,943 people participated in an X-ray examination of the lungs and an interview on work history and exposure. The criteria for a positive radiological finding were (i) small irregular lung opacities clearly consistent with interstitial pulmonary fibrosis (ILO 1/1 or higher), (ii) lung opacities indicating mild pulmonary fibrosis (ILO 1/0) with unilateral or bilateral pleural plaques, (iii) marked adhesions with or without thickening of the visceral pleura, or (iv) findings consistent with bilateral pleural plaques.
Fulfilling the criteria were 4133 workers (22%) (22% from construction, 16% from shipyards, and 24% from the asbestos industry). The radiological findings included signs of pulmonary fibrosis (3%), changes in the visceral pleura (7%), bilateral plaques (17%), and unilateral plaques (10%). Occupational disease was diagnosed according to the Finnish insurance regulations for three-fourths of those referred for further examinations, 96% being abnormalities in the pleura and 4% being asbestosis.
Exposure to asbestos dust has been common in ordinary construction work, and, consequently, radiographic abnormalities (mostly pleural) occur frequently among active and retired construction workers.