To implement the globally harmonized system of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS) in Korea, an inter-ministerial GHS committee, involving 8 ministries and an expert working group composed of 9 experts from relevant organizations and one private consultant, have made some progress towards implementation by 2008. As such, the first revision of the official Korean translated version of the GHS in accordance with the GHS purple book revision 1 in 2005, including annexes, started in August, 2006, was completed in December, 2006. The Ministry of Labor also finally revised the Industrial Safety and Health Act (ISHA) relating to the GHS and the detailed notification was announced on Dec 12, 2006 and became effective immediately. The revised ISHA will allow continued use of the existing hazard communication system until Jun 30, 2008. Other revisions of chemical-related regulations will follow soon to facilitate the implementation of the GHS by 2008. Besides, inter-ministerial collaborative efforts on harmonizing regulations and disseminating the GHS in Korea will continue to avoid any confusion or duplication and for the effective use of resources.
For better or for worse, the advent of journal impact factors last century marked a key turning point in the global development of scientific publication and referencing systems. Since that time however, the concept has attracted considerable attention from a variety of sources, and its usefulness for relatively small research fields such as occupational health, has also been debated. For these reasons, the current paper provides a descriptive history of the journal impact factor and a discussion of its relevance for occupational health. Developmental milestones, inherent shortcomings and future challenges are also described, along with techniques used for increasing the impact factor and some potential strategies for improvement of the citation indexing system. While many scholars now question its increasingly prominent role in the evaluation of scientific research, the journal impact factor continues to form an important component in the dissemination and retrieval of scientific literature in the occupational health field, as elsewhere. Due to the controversy incurred since its inception however, and the increasingly diverse manner in which it is now being used, it remains to be seen what the next 50 years of journal impact factors will bring.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of noise on hearing, lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzymes in textile workers. Thirty textile workers exposed to high noise 105 dB (A) in a textile factory, and 30 healthy male volunteers in our hospital as a control group were included in the study. In both groups, following audiometric tests, blood samples were obtained. In these blood samples, Malonydialdehyte (MDA), Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Catalase (CAT) levels were investigated. Statistical analysis was performed by using SPSS version 11.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago 1L) software program. Mean pure tone audiometric thresholds in workers were significantly higher than in control subjects at frequencies 2,000, 4,000 and 6,000 Hz (p<0.05). Hearing losses were more evident at high frequencies (4-6 kHz) than at low frequencies in worker group. (p<0.05). It was observed that textile workers with longer employment duration had poorer hearing threshoulds and the hearing loss had started on those who had worked for 5-8 yr. While MDA levels were significantly higher in workers than controls (p<0.001), CAT activity was significantly lower (p<0.005). Also, SOD activity was lower in workers but difference was not statistically significant. We observed a significant change in hearing threshold of the textile workers compared with that of the control group. Increase in MDA level and decreases in CAT and SOD activities in textile workers, support the opinion that the noise causes the oxidative stress. The fact that noise both causes hearing loss and increases oxidative stress suggests that there may be a relationship between the oxidative stress and hearing loss. But, further studies are needed in order to verify this opinion.
Depressive symptoms among medical residents are common. The objective of this study was to determine the association of depressive symptoms with needlestick injury among first-year medical residents (so-called "intern"). We conducted a prospective cohort study among 107 medical residents in 14 training hospitals. The baseline survey was conducted in August 2005 and the follow-up survey was conducted in March 2006. Depressive symptoms were based on the Center for Epidemiological Study of Depression. Factors associated with depressive symptoms were examined using logistic regression analysis. For medical residents without depressive symptoms at the baseline survey, needlestick injury events were associated with depressive symptoms at the follow-up survey (corrected odds ratio [cOR]=2.98; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16-3.70). Because it was not possible to determine when the medical residents developed depressive symptoms, it is not possible to definitely determine causality between needlestick injury and depressive symptoms, although these findings are suggestive. Therefore, it would seem prudent to suggest the provision of mental health services to medical residents sustaining a needlestick injury since this may be helpful in identifying and treating depression.
The purpose of this study was to identify the degree of physical stresses on two-wheeled carry-on luggage users in terms of biomechanics and work physiology. Based on 3D kinematics, a 3D inverse dynamic biomechanical model having fifteen segments was developed to evaluate a one-hand pulling task. Joint reaction forces, joint moments and physiological variables (energy expenditure and heart rate) were measured from four subjects who performed 32 luggage-pulling tasks on a doublewide treadmill in the configurations of handle height (100 cm and 110 cm), handle rotation (0° and 90°), pole angle (0° and 10°), wheel diameter (8 cm and 15 cm), load weight (15 kg or 23 kg), center of mass (low and middle), carpeting (no and yes), trial day (first and second) and subject height (short and tall). ANOVA revealed that wheel diameter, center of mass and subject height were highly associated with the physical stresses of luggage users, especially their right arm. Although the task seems light work, users should place heavy belongings at the bottom of luggage when packing and manufacturers should give a priority to large wheels for ergonomic design.
Silicosis has progressive, but unpredictable development. There are no markers routinely available to measure the activity and prognosis of silicosis. 8-isoprostane, a marker of oxidative stress and leukotrienes B4, C4, D4, and E4 were measured in exhaled breath condensate in patients with silicosis. Sixty subjects were examined, with mean age 66.7±2.0 yr and mean exposure to silica 23.6±2.5 yr. The control group had 25 subjects, with mean age 64.7±4.8 yr. Exhaled breath was collected using the EcoScreen (Jaeger, Germany); 8-isoprostane and leukotrienes were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Several lung functions parameters were impaired in silicotics in comparisons with the controls; ESR, α1-antitrypsin and proteinuria were higher in the silicotics. Antineutrophilic cytoplasmic antibodies were more frequent in the silicotics (39%) than in the controls (4%), (p=0.0017). The mean level of 8-isoprostane in the patients with silicosis was 73.6±9.9 vs. 43±10 pg/ml (p=0.0001) in the controls. Silica exposure category (high, medium, none) was positively associated with the level of 8-isoprostane. In the patients with complicated silicosis, a high level of 8-isoprostane was found more frequently (p=0.0194). Leukotriene D4 was also increased in the silicotics (21.1±2.7 pg/ml) vs. the controls (14.7±2.7 pg/ml), (p=0.001). No significant effect of smoking or alcohol consumption on the markers examined was seen. This is the first study using exhaled breath condensate analysis in patients with silicosis.
This study was an investigation of prevalence and associations between self-rated health and working conditions for small-scale enterprisers in a county in Sweden. A postal questionnaire was answered by 340 male and 153 female small-scale enterprisers in different sectors, with a response rate of 66%. For comparative purposes, data from a population study of 1,699 employees in private companies was included in the analyses. Differences were tested by Chi²-test and associations were presented as odds ratios (OR) with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI). The frequency of health problems in male enterprisers was higher than in employees in the private sector, while the frequency of health problems in female enterprisers was equal to that of the control employees. The main findings highlighted that male enterprisers reported higher rate of health problems and female enterprisers equal rate compared with employees in the private sector. Enterprisers stated musculoskeletal pain (women 59%, men 56%) and mental health problems (women 47%, men 45%) as the most frequent health problems. Poor job satisfaction, reported by 17% of the females and 20% of the male enterprisers, revealed an OR of 10.42 (95% CI 5.78-18.77) for poor general health. For the enterprisers, the most frequent complaints, musculoskeletal pain and mental health problems, were associated with poor job satisfaction and poor physical work environment. An association between poor general health and working as an enterpriser remained after adjusting for working conditions, sex and age.
The number of female doctors in Japan has been increasing, but the relationship between their work environment and their mental health is not clear. This study aimed to determine factors in the work environment influencing mental health status among female doctors. We mailed an anonymous survey questionnaire to 587 female doctors, and 367 (62.5%) responded. The survey included questions about age, marital status, work-related information including their specialty, affiliated medical facility, position, type of employment, working time, and night duty. The thirty-item version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-30) was used to examine psychological distress. For the purposes of analysis, subjects with a GHQ-30 score greater than or equal to eight were considered to have psychological distress. The mean age of the subjects was 45.1 yr (SD 15.1). A total of 169 (46.1%) of subjects met criteria for having psychological distress. Bivariate analysis showed that age (p=0.0009), marital status (p=0.0038), medical facility (p=0.0476), position (p=0.0180), working time (p=0.0337), and working at night (p<0.0001) were associated with the GHQ-30 score. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that younger age (p=0.0030), engaging in night duty (p=0.0049), and being divorced (p=0.0093) were independently associated with psychological distress. These results suggest that work environment factors, particularly night duty, play important roles in modulating psychological distress among female doctors.
Occupational exposure to asbestos fiber and total dust of workers of a major brake lining manufacture plant in a developing country were examined and compared with those in developed countries. Time weighted average of total dust and asbestos fiber concentration in the potential sources of exposure were monitored. All personal air sampling were collected on membrane filters and analyzed by phase contrast optical microscopy (PCM) for comparison with the occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 0.1 f/cc, 8-h time weighted average. This study demonstrates that routine mixing, polishing and beveling process in the brake lining production can result in elevated levels of airborne asbestos. Greater releases of airborne asbestos were observed during mixing process and mixer machine. The results also showed that the employees working in the process had the exposure to total dust concentrations ranging from 2.08 to 16.32 mg/m³ that is higher than OSHA, recommendation. According to OSHA definition of fibers, it has been indicated that from 3,000 counted particles, 90% of particles are in the form of non-fiber and reaming have fiber-shaped. The particle analyze gives the geometric mean diameter as 6.02 μm, and also indicated that the arithmetic mean of the number distribution for the particle population was 8.4 μm. Approximately 60.4% of the counted fibers were lower than 10 μm in length, from which only 8% consists of fibers (>5 μm in length). In conclusion, the analysis showed a presence in the air of only chrysotile asbestos and an absence of other types of asbestos. During an 8-h shift, the average asbestos fiber exposure (0.78 f/cc) were 7.8 time in excess of OSHA PEL. Additional studies in occupational exposure to asbestos are needed.
Inhalation of cobalt (Co) and tungsten carbide (WC) particles, but not Co or WC alone, may cause hard metal disease, risk of which does not appear to be uniform across cemented tungsten carbide (CTC) production processes. Inhalation of Co alone or in the presence of WC may cause asthma. Hypothesizing that aerosol size, chemical content, heterogeneity, and constituent compaction may be important exposure factors, we characterized aerosols from representative CTC manufacturing processes. Six work areas were sampled to characterize aerosol size distributions (dust, Co) and 12 work areas were sampled to characterize physicochemical properties (using scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry [SEM-EDX]). Bulk feedstock and process-generated powders were characterized with SEM-EDX and x-ray diffraction. The dust mass median diameter was respirable and the cobalt respirable mass fraction was highest (37%) in grinding. Morphology of particles changed with processing: individual, agglomerate, or aggregates (pre-sintered materials), then mostly compacted particles (subsequent to sintering). Elemental composition of particles became increasingly heterogeneous: mostly discrete Co or W particles (prior to spray drying), then heterogeneous W/Co particles (subsequent work areas). Variability in aerosol respirability and chemical heterogeneity could translate into differences in toxicity and support detailed characterization of physicochemical properties during exposure assessments.
The effects of the walk-by motion and sash movement on the containment leakage of an air curtain-isolated fume hood were evaluated and compared with the results of a corresponding conventional fume hood. The air curtain was generated by a narrow planar jet issued from the double-layered sash and a suction slot-flow arranged on the floor of the hood just behind the doorsill. The conventional fume hood used for comparison had the major dimensions identical to the air-curtain hood. SF₆ tracer-gas concentrations were released and measured following the prEN 14175-3:2003 protocol to examine the contaminant leakage levels. Experimental results showed that operating the air-curtain hood at the suction velocity above about 6 m/s and jet velocity about 1 m/s could provide drastically high containment performance when compared with the corresponding conventional fume hood operated at the face velocity of 0.5 m/s. The total air flow required for the air-curtain hood operated at 6 m/s suction velocity and 1 m/s jet velocity was about 20% less than that exhausted by the conventional fume hood. If the suction velocity of the air-curtain hood was increased above 8 m/s, the containment leakage during dynamic motions could be reduced to ignorable level (about 10⁻³ ppm).
In general, control of metal dust from hand-held disk grinders is difficult because such respirable dust tends to disperse in every direction around the grinding wheel and cannot be captured effectively by a conventional exhaust hood. The author described the application of a custom-made tool-mounted local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system attached to a hand-held disk grinder, and by laboratory experiments assessed its effectiveness at dust control. The effectiveness of the LEV for dust control was assessed by determining the respirable dust concentration around the grinding wheel during metal surface grinding with and without the use of the LEV. It was shown that the average respirable grinding dust concentration decreased from 7.73 mg/m³ with the LEV off to 4.87 mg/m³ with the LEV on, a mean dust generation reduction of about 37%.
This study was performed in order to demonstrate that non-occupational physicians are often unaware of the possible role of occupational risk factors in the multifactorial etiology of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Study participants consisted of 229 individuals, 127 cases of CTS matched with 102 controls. In only 41% of the cases did family or attending physicians in the hospital asked the concerned patients about their occupation or specific job tasks, and less than 10% of the cases were referred for further evaluation to an occupational physician. Occupational risk factors that were identified were: work with repeated movements of the wrist (OR=2.15, 95% CI=1.14-4.07) and work in a cold environment (OR=3.52, 95% CI=1.08-11.47). By improving the awareness of clinicians (and patients) to the possible role of work-related factors in the etiology of CTS, appropriate preventive measures can be introduced in order to reduce the burden of this syndrome.
(2007) Vol. 45, No. 5, Pages: 595-597. In a previous editorial, the authors indicated that they were publishing the 17th special issue of INDUSTRIAL HEALTH. We have since discovered that special issues first began in 1996. An updated list is shown below, in Table 1.