This study aimed to (1) determine the deposition and clearance rates of utrafine metallic nickel (Uf-Ni) in rats after a 5 hours single inhalation exposure, and (2) to histopathologically examine the pulmonary lesions induced at dose levels comparable to the Occupational Exposure Limit recommended in Japan (OEL). The exposure concentrations of Uf-Ni for the 3 groups were 0.15 (Low), 1.14 (Medium), and 2.54 (High) mg/m3. Five rats/group were sacrificed at Oh and 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 days post exposure. The amount of Ni in the lung accumulated dose-dependently. The half-times for Ni in the lung were estimated as 32 days on average, and were similar to each other regardless of the initial dosage. The histopathologically observed pulmonary lesions induced by a single inhalation of Uf-Ni were, (1) a significant increase in lung weight in the High and Medium groups with time, (2) accumulation of foamy alveolar macrophages (AM), (3) degenerated AM indicating alveolar lipoproteinosis which was aggravated for up to 4 weeks in the High group and (4) acute calcification of the degenerated AM was remarkable. The present results suggest that even a single inhalation of Uf-Ni induces potency of lung lesions at dose levels comparable to the OEL (1mg/m3 as Ni), or the TWA of ACGIH (1.5mg/m3 for elemental/metal).
Methyltetrahydrophthalic anhydride (MTHPA) stimulates the production of specific IgE antibodies which can cause occupational allergy even at extremely low levels of exposure (15-22μg/m3). Safe use in industry demands control of the levels of exposure causing allergic diseases. Thus, the air monitoring of MTHPA is very important, and sensitive methods are required to measure low air concentrations or short-time peak exposures. This paper outlines the use of silica-gel tubes for sampling airborne MTHPA vapour, followed by analysis using gas chromatography with electron-capture detection. No breakthrough was observed at 113, 217, 673 and 830μg/m3 (sampling volume 30, 60, 60 and 20l, respectively; relative humidity 40-55%). Concentrations >1.0μg/m3 could be quantified at 20-min sampling with a sampling rate of 1l/min. The present method can also be applied to measurements of exposure to hexahydrophthalic and methylhexahydrophthalic anhydride. The risk of MTHPA exposure in two condenser plants was also assessed by determining MTHPA levels in air of the workplace. In conclusion, our method was found to be reliable and sensitive, and can be applied to the evaluation of MTHPA exposure.
The purpose of this study was to examine the possible effects of a tilting seat on the back, lower back and legs. Ten healthy male subjects aged 22-28 performed word-processing operations while sitting on a chair for one hour under two different seating conditions: the rocking condition and the fixed condition. While the subjects were performing the task, measurements of lower leg swelling were taken using bioelectrical impedance plethysmography, and pain scores were recorded every five min for the neck, shoulders, back, lower back, hips and legs. Electromyograms (EMGs) of the back and lower back (at Th5-6, Th8-9, L1-2 and L3-4) were recorded every sec. In addition, the subjects were videotaped while using the rocking seat, in order to analyze the angle and frequency of seat tilting. At the end of the experiment, the subjects were asked to evaluate the two conditions with respect to localized fatigue and operational efficiency. There was no significant difference in lower leg swelling between the two conditions. EMGs were significantly different at Th5-6, Th8-9 and L1-2 between the two conditions. The rocking condition generated greater EMGs at Th5-6 and L1-2, whereas the fixed condition produced greater EMGs at Th8-9. The pain scores for the neck, shoulders, back and lower back were higher under the fixed condition, while those for the buttocks were higher under the rocking condition. The average tilting frequency was as low as 25.2 times per hour, with 15.6 times per hour for tilting angles ranging from 1 to 2 degrees, and 9.6 times per hour for tilting angles exceeding 2 degrees. As for the subjective evaluations of localized fatigue, seven of the ten subjects preferred the rocking condition, while two preferred the fixed condition and one subject had no preference. Thus, there was a significant difference in the subjective evaluations of the two chairs. These findings suggest that the rocking condition, in contrast to the fixed seating condition, reduced back and lower back pain as a result of its tilting capability. The results of EMGs suggest that the rocking condition reduced back and lower back pain by increasing the overall muscle activity of the back and lower back. The leg impedance measurements showed no effect of the rocking condition on the leg swelling, as compared with the fixed condition.
To investigate heart rate variability in response to psychological tests (Japanese version of Stroop color word test and mirror drawing test) in 29 hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) patients, 16 of them with vibration-induced white finger (VWF) and 13 without VWF, and 10 healthy controls of similar age, heart rate variability during spontaneous and deep (6 cycles a minute) breathing in supine position before and after exposure to the psychological tests was examined calculating frequency domain components such as low frequency (LF) power-index of both the sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, high frequency (HF) power-index of the parasympathetic activity and LF/HF-index of the sympathovagal balance. The group of all patients and the group without VWF indicated significant increase in LF/HF in the deep breathing measurement after exposure to the psychological tests. The result suggests that the sympathetic tone in the sympathovagal balance predominated in the HAVS patients which means that they had larger sensitivity of the sympathetic nervous system to the psychological tests.
The study examined belt effects on the change of lumbosacral angle (LSA) and back muscle activity in postures of standing, erect sitting, and slump sitting. We thought that the resulting changes of LSA and back muscle activity when wearing belts with different mechanical characteristics should be different. Eighteen healthy male subjects participated in this study. Though we failed to identify a significant belt effect on the back muscle EMG, the radiographic data revealed an interactive effect of postures and belts on the change of LSA. In standing, the belts increased LSA by increasing almost every lumbar vertebral angle. In erect sitting, the lumbar belt had no effect but the pelvic belt decreased LSA through a decrease in the L1/L3. While sitting slump with a trunk flexion of 15 degrees, both belts increased LSA by restricting the movement of the pelvis. Belt effect on LSA was accompanied with a change of pelvic angle. Significant correlation was found between the backward rotation angles of the pelvis and the angles of LSA (r=0.692, p<0.0001), also between the decrease of pelvic angles and the increase of back muscle EMG (r=-0.4, p=0.017). A change in LSA and pelvic angle after wearing a belt along with posture change seems lead to an increase of the myoelectric activities on the back.
The objective of the present study was to determine perception thresholds for whole-body vibration in the recumbent supine posture in vertical and horizontal directions and to compare the present results with ones obtained at the same laboratory in 1984 and also with ISO frequency weighting curves both in ISO 2631-1 and in ISO 2631-2. The frequency characteristic and thresholds values of the present results are similar to previous results. Weighting curves of ISO, however, show quite different characteristic in both vertical and horizontal directions compared to the present characteristics. It is not suitable to apply weighting curves Wk for the vertical direction, Wd for the horizontal direction and combined curves in ISO to recumbent posture from the results of this present study.
This paper presents the results of laboratory experiment concerned with perception thresholds for whole-body vibration on recumbent subjects. Thresholds of subjects exposed to x-, y-and z-axis sinusoidal vibration were determined for supine, prone, lying on the left side and lying on the right side subjects (from 1 to 80Hz). It was clear that the threshold curves, as a function of frequency, had different characteristics for vertical vibrations than for horizontal vibrations in the recumbent postures. Significant differences were found between perception thresholds for vertical vibrations and horizontal vibrations on recumbent subjects.
Fifty-three grinders in the metal industry were re-examined 4 years after their first examination. Information about age, occupation, daily vibration exposure, drinking and smoking habits, and presence of subjective symptoms such as vibration-induced white finger (VWF), and numbness and pain in the fingers was collected during the first and second examination. Cold provocation test (10°C/10 min) was also employed to evaluate disturbances in the peripheral circulatory and peripheral nerves in all subjects. The frequency-weighted vibration acceleration of various types of hand-held tools was measured. There was no subject with VWF at the first examination; however, during the course of follow-up, two cases (3.8%) of VWF with latent interval of more than 25 years were diagnosed. Prevalence of numbness in the fingers and shoulder stiffness was significantly higher at the second examination. When the prevalence of subjective symptoms was tested by the subjects' total operating time (TOT) during the 4-year follow-up period, those whose TOT was equal to or more than 2500 hours showed higher prevalence compared to the other subgroup. The paired values of recovery rate of finger skin temperature and vibration sensation threshold after the cold water immersion test were significantly different at the first and second examination. On average, the diminution of hand-grip force during the 4-year follow-up course was 7.4%; the difference being significant at 0.01 level. Significant differences in the paired data of pinching power and tapping ability could be detected. The frequency-weighted vibration acceleration of various tools was in the range of 1.1-4.6m/s2. It was concluded that: (1) prolonged occupational exposure to the vibration of hand-held grinding tools should be considered as a risk factor causing disturbances in the hand-arm system of the operators; (2) the results of recovery rate of finger skin temperature and the vibration sensation threshold seemed to be appropriate indicators for the assessment of peripheral vascular and peripheral nerve disturbances in workers exposed to and-arm vibration; and (3) to reduce the subjects' physical stress, attention should be paid to ergonomic factors.
The aims of this study were (1) to measure frequency-weighted vibration acceleration and (2) to study the effects of introducing a vibration-proof impact wrench on VWF in workers. The subject pool was 383 male workers who were regularly using an impact wrench and taking special medical examinations for vibration syndrome in a factory from 1982 to 1999. The prevalence of workers with VWF increased gradually after 1982, reached a peak value (4.8%) in 1986, gradually decreased after 1987, and disappeared in 1994. Sixteen subjects who had had VWF at least one time during the observation period were selected for this study. The stages of VWF were at stage I on the Stockholm Workshop scale in all subjects. After the vibration-proof impact wrench was introduced in 1986, the vibration acceleration of the impact wrench measured on the handle decreased from 8.6-11.1m/s2 to 5.1-7.1m/s2. The actual time per day that subjects were assumed to use the impact wrench was 108 minutes. The subjects actually used an impact wrench more than the occupational exposure limit allowed. However, VWF disappeared after the introduction of a vibration-proof impact wrench. This might have resulted from the combined effect of introducing the vibration-proof impact wrench and certain countermeasures that were taken against cold working environments.
An agalmatolite miner and processor showed large shadows at the bilateral hila accompanied by surrounding emphysematous changes and irregular shadows on chest X-ray films. Chest CT scans were characterized by a mixture of tiny irregular structures and small round opacities. Histopathological examination revealed massive fibrosis, which corresponded to large shadows, but only a small number of typical silicotic nodules, indicating mixed dust pneumoconiosis. Mineralogical examination of the autopsy lungs showed quartz, pyrophyllite, mica, and kaolinite. Quartz accounted for 70% of the amount of all mineral dust in both patients, but pyrophyllite accounted for 10.8% and 14.4%. The pulmonary mineral dust composition in the two patients was well consistent with the mineral composition of the raw clays in the agalmatolite mine. In the two patients, chest X-ray findings and histopathological findings of the lungs also suggested agalmatolite pneumoconiosis, which was confirmed by mineral analysis of the lungs.
In this experiment, we studied the different changes in activities and protein levels of each subform of hepatic cytochrome P450 and glutathione S-transferase (GST), in chemical-induced liver injury in rats. Rats were administered 1, 1-dichloroethylene (DCE), allyl alcohol (AA), bromobenzene (BB) and N, N-dimethylformamide (DMF) p.o. once every two days for 7 times, and decapitated 18hr after the last administration. DCE and AA showed stronger hepatic toxicity than BB and DMF, as serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were higher in DCE and AA treated rats than in BB and DMF groups. Anti-cytochrome P450 inhabitable activity of toluene metabolism and/or immunoblot analysis showed that CYP2E1 and CYP2B1/2 were induced by BB and DMF, but not by the other two chemicals; CYP2C11 was greatly decreased by all of the four toxicants; and CYP1A1/2 was slightly reduced by the four treatments. These changes were reflected in testosterone metabolism. Formation of 6β- and 7α-hydroxytestosterone from testosterone was enhanced only in DMF-treated rats, whereas that of 2α-and 16α-hydroxytestosterone was reduced by all of the four chemicals. Serum GST activity was increased only in BB and DMF treated rats, but liver cytosolic GST activity was enhanced by all of the four hepatotoxicants, with higher values in BB and DMF groups than in DCE and AA groups. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that GST Yp was induced by BB and DMF treatments, and Ya and Yc were increased only by BB. GST Yk and Yb1 were not affected by the treatments. The different change patterns of enzymes by a specific toxin and the similar modifying effect on a specific enzyme by different toxins were discussed in relation to the liver damage and to the heterogeneous distribution of enzymes in liver.
A cross-sectional epidemiologic study was conducted to determine the prevalence of self-reported musculoskeletal pain (MSP) in construction workers and identify associations between MSP and individual factors (i.e., job, age, alcohol consumption, and smoking). The prevalence of total hand/arm pain (T-HAP), total shoulder pain (T-SP), and total low-back pain (T-LBP) was 28.4%, 28.7%, and 53.2%, respectively. Risk factors for total pain and for relatively severe pain in the hand/arm (RS-HAP), shoulder (RS-SP), and low-back (RS-LBP) were estimated by multiple logistic regression analysis. The results showed that musculoskeletal pain was significantly associated with age, and that the odds ratios (ORs) for relatively severe musculoskeletal pain increased almost linearly with age. Regarding job, compared with architects whose work is presumed to be sedentary, almost all ORs for T-HAP, T-SP, and T-LBP for non-sedentary construction jobs were significantly high. Current smokers of 20 cigarettes a day or more had significantly higher ORs for RS-HAP and RS-LBP than “never smokers”. We suppose that 1) total and relatively severe pain were associated with age, 2) non-sedentary work was at higher risk of total MSP than sedentary work, and 3) heavy smoking contributed to RS-LBP.
A field survey of 278 engineers (20-59 years) in a machinery manufacturing company was conducted to investigate the association of working hours with biological indices related to the cardiovascular system (heart rate variability, blood pressure and serum levels of magnesium, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate <DHEA-S> and cholesterol). Average working hours (defined as <“hours at workplace”+“half a commuting time”>) and sleeping hours in this study were 60.2±6.3 hr/week and 6.6±0.8hr/day respectively. There were no significant relationships between working hours and biological indices related to the cardiovascular system, but sleeping hours was closely related to working hours negatively. Furthermore, the serum DHEA-S level was significantly related to sleeping hours positively. Combining these two results, it appeared that long working hours might lower the serum DHEA-S level due to the reduction of sleeping hours.
To assess the physiotherapist's exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF) leaking from short wave diathermy equipment, we conducted on-site measurements of stray electric and magnetic fields (27.12MHz) close to continuous wave (CW) short wave equipment. The results show that the operator's knees may have the highest exposure level for both electric field (E-field) and magnetic field (H-field) in the normal operating position, i.e., behind the device console. The whole-body E-field exposure normally does not exceed the 1992 IEEE recommended limit during a normal treatment session. On the other hand, the operator's whole-body exposure to H-field was barely below the recommended limit. Our data suggest little chance of immediate harmful effects of RF leakage from the diathermy. Nonetheless, physiotherapists should still be advised to remain at a distance of at least 20cm from the electrodes and cables to avoid possible overexposure.
A factory survey was conducted in a paint industry in Tehran-Iran. The time-weighted average of toluene and xylene concentration in breathing zone and environmental air were monitored by charcoal tube samplers and GC-FID. The results showed that the tank cleaners had the highest exposure to toluene and xylene (1.5-5.4 times of TLV), while the workers in packaging workshops had the lowest. However, environmental concentration did not show significant differences in workshops and their levels were all lower than the TLV.