A workplace bleach exposure incident was studied in 13 women to determine whether chlorine caused neurobehavioral and pulmonary functional effects. We compared neurophysiological and neuropsychological measurements in 13 chlorine-exposed women, 4.5 years after exposure, and 41 unexposed women. Reaction times, balance, blink reflex latency, color discrimination and several psychological tests were measured. Pulmonary function was assessed by spirometry. A profile of mood states and frequencies of 35 symptoms were obtained. Chlorine exposed women performed statistically significantly below unexposed women for simple and choice reaction times, balance with eyes open and eyes closed, color discrimination, grip strength, Culture Fair, digit symbol substitution, vocabulary, trail making B and pegboard. Profile of mood states scores and frequency symptoms were elevated. Respiratory symptoms were elevated but pulmonary volumes and flows were not reduced. Chlorine bleach exposure was associated with impaired neurobehavioral functions and elevated POMS scores and symptom frequencies. Alternatives to chlorine should be used.
In order to determine the efficacy of a detector tube method in formaldehyde (HCHO) measurement, we performed a chamber experiment and a field study. The experiment clearly showed that the value obtained by the detector tube method was significantly correlated to that obtained using an active-DNPH method, and was not influenced by the coexistence of toluene, xylene or carbon monoxide, but was by acetaldehyde. In the field study, we investigated 171 rooms in 81 houses. Indoor air was simultaneously sampled for 30 minutes by both an active-DNPH method and the detector tube method. The mean HCHO concentration in the 171 rooms was 0.110 ± 0.089 ppm determined by the active-DNPH method and 0.12 ± 0.10 ppm by the detector tube method. Regression analysis showed that the two measures closely correlated with a regression equation Y=1.057 X +0.002 (r=0.912, p<0.0001), where X is the HCHO concentration determined by the active-DNPH method and Y is that determined by the detector tube method. The mean acetaldehyde concentration in the 171 rooms was 0.024 ± 0.018 ppm using the active-DNPH method, and no correlation was found between acetaldehyde concentrations using the active-DNPH method and the values obtained by the detector tube method. Therefore, this study clearly showed that the detector tube method is not only simple and fast but also precise in measuring HCHO in indoor air.
Local residents exposed to heavy falls of ash discharged by Mt. Sakurajima, an active volcano, have been reported to develop acute and chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract. The present study aimed to determine the primary cause of this inflammation using an experimental model. Wistar rats were exposed for 5 days (4 h/d) to air containing 100 mg/m3 volcanic ash (mass median aerodynamic diameter, 4.3 μm; geometric standard deviation, 1.7) with or without 1.5 ppm sulfur dioxide (SO2). The lungs were then lavaged, and mRNA was extracted from alveolar macrophages and assessed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). In the lavage fluid, no change in cellularity or increase in the content of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α was detected. However, at 1 h following exposure, 80% of macrophages were seen to have phagocytosed the volcanic ash. This percentage was unchanged at 24 h after exposure. Profilin mRNA content of the macrophages was elevated, and c-jun mRNA was expressed. Alveolar macrophages exposed to volcanic ash and SO2, therefore, are likely to have some inflammatory and fibrogenic potential.
Studies on animals and human subjects have proposed that urban pollutants may cause alterations of cortisol levels. The aim of this study is to evaluate whether police officers exposed to urban pollutants and possible psycho-social stressors could be at risk for alterations on plasma cortisol levels compared to a control group. Plasma cortisol levels were determined in 302 police officers with outdoor activity and administrative workers with indoor activity. The subjects were subdivided into three groups: “A” (non-smokers and non-drinkers), “B” (smokers), and “C” group (drinkers). In male and female subjects of “A” and “C” groups and in female subjects of “B” group the mean cortisol values were significantly higher in police officers compared to controls. The authors hypothesise an effect on plasma cortisol levels in police officers exposed to chemical, physical and possible psycho-social stressors.
Major risk factors associated with hypertension (a family history of hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperuricemia, and increased white blood cell counts) were assessed in 5275 Japanese male office workers aged 23-59 years. After controlling for potential risk factors of hypertension, the odds ratio of hypertension compared with the absence of risk factors was 1.91, 2.65, 3.88, 6.54, and 8.18 for the presence of 1, 2, 3, 4, and ≥ 5 risk factors, respectively (P for trend<0.001). Systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels also increased in a dose-dependent manner as the number of risk factors increased. Among men not taking antihypertensive medication, the adjusted mean differences in systolic and diastolic blood pressures (mmHg) were 11.2 and 9.2 between men with the presence of ≥ 5 risk factors and men without risk factors, respectively. These results indicate that the accumulation of risk factors is highly associated with the increased risk of hypertension in Japanese men.
A remaining uncertainty in the U.S. cohort study of man-made vitreous fiber (MMVF) workers is whether asbestos exposure contributed to 10 questionable cases of mesothelioma. We report further details on one case from our previous mesothelioma investigation, including results of a recent lung tissue analysis. Case is a 68 year-old white male employed 1951-54 in a rock/slag wool plant where asbestos-containing products were manufactured. Cause of death was recorded as “mesothelioma, malignant, right pleural cavity” (ICD9: 163.9). Analysis for presence of asbestos bodies identified 18, 300 asbestos bodies per gram of wet lung tissue (AB/gm), which greatly exceeds the normal range of 0-20 AB/gm. No MMVFs were identified in this sample. We conclude that this patient's tumor was not a mesothelioma, but a carcinoma possibly arising in the lung or mediastinum, and that this case supports the view that the few suspected mesotheliomas found in the U.S. cohort may have been caused by asbestos exposure.
The present study investigated relationships among self-management skills, communication with superiors, and the mental health of employees in a Japanese worksite. The subjects were manufacturing workers in a medium-sized company in Kyushu. In 1999, we mailed a selfadministrated questionnaire which included questions on age, gender, job rank, communication with superiors, a General Self-Efficacy Scale, a Self-Management Skill Scale, and the Japanese version of the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Eighty percent of the subjects returned the questionnaire. Excluding senior managers and insufficient answers, the final response rate was fifty-five percent. The multiple regression analysis showed that job rank contributed significantly and positively and that age, communication with superiors, and self-management skills contributed significantly and negatively to the GHQ-12. Our results implied that self-management skills might have the potential of affecting the mental health of Japanese employees.
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) through the placenta and milk has any effect on the reproductive system in male offspring. Pregnant rats were treated with BPA at 0, 4, 40 and 400 mg/kg body weight, from gestation day 6 through lactation day 20 by gavage. Plasma testosterone concentrations in offspring at 9 weeks old were significantly high in BPA groups as compared with those of the control. At the age of 36 weeks the hormone concentrations showed an increase in a dose-dependent manner, although without statistical significance. Testosterone content in testes showed a similar tendency to that in plasma, though statistically insignificant. Little alteration in testes weight was seen in BPA-exposed offspring. There was no remarkable change in plasma concentrations of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone at 9 weeks old. The pathway of E2 (17β-estradiol) formation from testosterone seemed not to be affected by BPA. The results indicate that exposure to BPA during the perinatal period has a significant effect on testosterone homeostasis in male offspring of rats.
To determine if the type of work performed should be considered in research on shift work and cardiovascular disease, we compared the heart rates, total number of steps walked, and blood pressures of 12 shift workers on the same rotating 3-shift schedule in a pulp and paper mill. Six workers were selected from the paper manufacturing section (group 1) and six workers from the chemical products section (group 2). Average heart rate (in beats per min) monitored during duty time was 84.3 in group 1 and 87.4 in group 2. Average heart rate during work was not significantly higher than that during rest in both groups 1 (work 85.8, rest 75.3) and 2 (work 87.9, rest 83.1). There was no significant difference in the total number of steps walked. A non-significant decrease in systolic blood pressure value was found in group 1 compared with that in group 2. Although future studies will be needed to explain the relation between different work styles and their effects on the health of shift workers, our results suggest no significant difference in heart rates among workers engaged in different kinds of work on the same shift work schedule.
This study was conducted in a battery manufacturing plant where lead was used in the processes of production, to survey the working conditions and safety behaviors, and to measure the airborne lead level contaminated in the workplace and the blood lead level of workers. The survey of working conditions showed that the workers were directly exposed to lead in sections e.g. grid casting, spreading, forming and polishing, assembly and special battery production sections. Some workers in these sections used a cotton mask to protect dust exposure, but most workers did not use any masks. High airborne lead level more than 0.2 mg/m3 was frequently measured in these sections. Geometric average of blood lead level slightly increased from 17.9 μg/dl to 22.3 μg/dl during 1998 and 2001. However, the geometric average of blood lead level dropped to 17.4 μg/dl in 2002. No workers had blood lead level above 60 μg/dl. Workers with different age groups had no significantly different average blood lead level. Workers whose duration of work was between 20-29 years had average blood lead level of 21.5 μg/dl. This group of workers had slightly higher blood lead level than those whose duration of work was 19 years or less, but with no significant difference. 21 subjects underwent annual health examination and exposure monitoring in 2002. There was no significant relation between airborne lead level and blood lead level.