Assessment of exposure to airborne endotoxins has been studied for several years, especially in occupational environments, but a large number of procedures are used for sampling and analysis. This lack of standardization makes it very difficult to compare results and set internationally accepted threshold limit values (TLVs) or occupational exposure limits (OELs) for endotoxin exposure. This paper reviews the methods reported, using advanced bibliographical search techniques: 82 papers published from 2004 to the present were selected to analyze methods for the assessment of human exposure to airborne endotoxins, with particular reference to occupational settings, and to examine their performance and critical points. Only few studies have focused on the standardization of sampling and analysis methods. The European Committee for Standardization Guidelines coincide with the procedures most frequently applied, but this does not guarantee the best results in terms of recovery and reproducibility. The factor that mainly affects endotoxin measurements is the extraction method, the main concern being the presence in the samples of a fraction insoluble in aqueous media. If substantial differences in the proportions of this fraction in different environments are confirmed in the future, the contribution of insoluble endotoxins cannot be neglected.
The purposes of this study were to estimate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and to investigate the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome in Korean workers. This is a secondary data analysis study using the data set from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV. A total of 1,545 workers over 20 yr of age were included in this analysis. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was determined using the modified National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. Waist circumference was based on the study of obesity guidelines. The overall prevalence of metabolic syndrome among Korean workers was 21.0% (28.5% men, 11.8% women). In a multiple logistic regression analysis, male workers with high job control and heavy alcohol consumption were significantly associated with metabolic syndrome. For women, low job control and current smoking increased the risk of metabolic syndrome. The risk of developing metabolic syndrome is strongly associated with level of job control in both male and female workers. These findings suggest that behavioral lifestyle modifications, including smoking cessation, moderating alcohol consumption, and controlling work-related factors and job control in the workplace should be considered for the prevention and management of metabolic syndrome in Korean workers.
Five protective garments (light summer clothing L, high visibility clothing HV, military clothing MIL, climber coverall CLM and firefighting clothing FIRE) were assessed on eight unacclimated male subjects at two environments: moderate warm environment with high humidity (MWH, 20.0°C, 86% relative humidity) and warm environment with moderate humidity (WMH, 30.0°C, 47% relative humidity). The thermophysiological responses and subjective sensations were reported. The PHS model (ISO7933) was used for predicting thermophysiological responses for each testing scenario. It was found that there were significant differences between clothing FIRE and other clothing on thermal sensation (p<0.05). Significant differences were found on skin humidity sensation between FIRE and L, HV or MIL (p<0.001). The RPE value in FIRE is significantly different with L and HV (p<0.05). In MWH, the post-exercise mean skin temperatures increased by 0.59 and 1.29°C in MIL and CLM. In contrast, mean skin temperatures in L, HV, MIL, CLM and FIRE in WMH increased by 1.7, 2.1, 2.1, 2.8 and 3.3°C, respectively. The PHS model presented good performance on predicted mean skin temperatures in MIL and CLM at the two studied environments. However, the skin temperature prediction with light clothing in WMH was weak. For thick protective clothing, the prediction on rectal temperature was protective. It is thus concluded that the results generated by the PHS model for high insulating clothing and measurements performed in high humidity environments should be explained with caution.
Fungi belong to common allergens, which can be found both in occupational and non-occupational environment. The aim of the study was to determine the frequency and factors associated with mould allergy among bakers and farmers reporting work-related respiratory symptoms. The study group comprised 117 bakers and 83 farmers reporting work-related respiratory symptoms. Skin prick tests (SPT) with common, fungal and occupational allergens, estimation of serum total IgE level, spirometry, histamine test and specific inhalative challenge test with occupational allergens were performed in all subjects. The prevalence of hypersensitivity to fungal species was higher among farmers (32.5%) than bakers (16.2%). Positive SPT with mould allergens were found among 10.8% farmers and 6.8% bakers with occupational allergy. The fungi allergens giving positive SPT results most frequently were Candida albicans, Levures mélanges, Aspergillus mix. and Charbons cerealiers in both groups. Among mould allergens, hypersensitivity to Aspergillus genus was the most common in farmers and bakers group, while among Saccharomyces − Candida albicans sensitization was the most frequently detected. Mould hypersensitivity is related to occupational respiratory allergy, especially to asthma and rhinitis in farmers, and occupational asthma in bakers. Although sensitization to Saccharomyces was more frequent, similar correlation was not observed.
ISO 15265 Standard − Ergonomics of the thermal environment − Risk assessment strategy for the prevention of stress or discomfort in thermal working conditions − can be considered as a key document for helping responsible for the health protection and prevention of working situations. According to the SOBANE strategy, this standard provides a three-step protocol aimed to the prevention, elimination or reduction of risks affecting the workplaces. Although both methods and procedures suggested by ISO 15265 appear very clear, this standard could bring in confusion both beginners and not specialists in occupational health concerning Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) threshold values consistent with comfort − hot discomfort and the discomfort − hot stress transitions. In this work such matter has been extensively discussed showing a certain difficulty in the definition of an unambiguous PMV threshold value for each working situation in any microclimate.
This study investigated risk factors for frequent work-related burn and cut injuries and low back pain (LBP) among kitchen workers including personal, work-related and environmental factors. Subjects were 991 kitchen workers in 103 schools, 17 hospitals and nursing homes, and 6 restaurants in central Japan. A cross-sectional survey was carried out using a structured self-administered questionnaire. Logistic regression models were used to examine associations between frequent injuries/LBP and risk factors. The effective response rate was 75.1% (n=744), the mean age was 40.7 (SD 11.7) and 77.2% were female. Burn injury was associated with a smaller kitchen (OR 1.94; 95%CI, 1.13–3.33), and gas kitchens rather than electric kitchens (OR 2.30; 95%CI, 1.17–4.52). LBP was associated with female gender (OR 2.46; 95%CI, 1.37–4.43), high body height (>160 cm) (OR 2.03; 95%CI, 1.22–3.36), and large number of meals produced per person (≥150 meals) (OR 1.83; 95%CI, 1.12–3.00). The results of this study suggest that securing adequate work space and introducing electric kitchen systems may reduce the risk to kitchen workers, as well as the importance of adequate height of cooking equipment and selecting an appropriate volume of meals to produce per person to prevent LBP in kitchen workers.
Although studies on the association of job dissatisfaction with mental health have been conducted in the past, few studies have dealt with the complicated links connecting job stress, job dissatisfaction, and stress-related illness. This study seeks to determine how job dissatisfaction is linked to common mental health issues. This study surveyed 3,172 civil servants (2,233 men and 939 women) in 1998, taking poor mental functioning, fatigue, and sleep disturbance as stress-related mental health problems. We examine how psychosocial risk factors at work and job dissatisfaction are associated independently with poor mental functioning, fatigue, and sleep disturbance after adjustment for other known risk factors, and how job dissatisfaction contributes to change in the degree of association between psychosocial risk factors at work and mental health problems. In general, psychosocial risk factors were independently associated with mental health problems. When adjusted for job dissatisfaction, not only was job satisfaction independently associated with mental health problems but it was also found that the association of psychosocial risk factors with mental health problems declined. Our results suggest that, although longitudinal research is necessary, attitudes toward satisfaction at work can potentially decrease the negative effects of psychosocial risk factors at work on mental health.
The use of a petroleum-derived cleaning solvent for dry cleaning, instead of tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene, PCE), has increased. The cleaning solvent may induce immunological alteration. In this study, murine macrophage-lineage J774.1 cells were exposed to the cleaning solvent at 0, 25, 50, and 75 µg/ml or PCE at 0, 400, 600, 800, and 1,000 µg/ml by vigorous vortexing. Cell viability was determined. The mRNA expressions of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p40 (a dimer of IL-12), and IL-27p28 (a dimer of IL-27) were evaluated by real-time PCR. The mean viabilities in the 50 and 75 µg/ml groups of the cleaning solvent were significantly lower than that of the control. The mean mRNA expressions of TNF-α and IL-1β in the 50 µg/ml group were significantly higher than those in the control. For PCE, the mean viabilities at 600 µg/ml and over were significantly lower than that of the control. The mean expressions of IL-6 and IL-10 in the 800 µg/ml group were significantly higher than that in the control. The productions of IL-1β and TNF-α may be altered in human during intoxication of the cleaning solvent as well as those of IL-6 and IL-10 in human during that of PCE, and these may affect on immune cells.
The present study was initiated to examine the activities of private clinic- or hospital-based occupational physicians (OPs) and to identify difficulties the OPs encountered in their occupational health service (OHS). A questionnaire was sent by mail to 557 OPs in Kyoto prefecture, Japan. Effective answers were obtained from 86 OPs who were private practitioners or physicians in hospitals and served as OPs on a part-time basis. Considering 3 h as a unit, a majority (92%) served <1 to 2 units/month. The leading fields of OHS provided by the OPs were general health examination and its follow-up, prevention of overwork, and mental health care, as well as support of workers on sick leave to return to work. OPs wished to allocate more time for maintenance and management of work and the work environment, mental health care, work area rounding, and attendance at the safety and health committee meetings. Difficulties were encountered most often in the management of mental ill health and overwork, and support of employees’ return to work. Many OPs also reported difficulties with industrial hygiene-related issues such as risk assessment, and maintenance and management of work and the work environment. The present survey identified difficulties that were frequently encountered by private clinic- and hospital-based OPs in their practice of OHS; these include issues on mental health, overwork and industrial hygiene. The needs to offering OPs specific opportunities to gain information and skills in these areas are stressed.
To explore the effectiveness of exercise program for banking and insurance workers and clarify the association between exercise, burnout, and metabolic syndrome components. In the process of the study, a practicable worksite exercise program was developed for bank and insurance enterprises. A three-month (12-wk) exercise course was conducted, and its benefits evaluated. Levels of burnout and metabolic syndrome components were analyzed after exercise intervention. After intervention, the indicators of burnout and metabolic syndrome components were significantly improved in both low and high intensity groups, and the improvement were expressed in reduction of waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, person burnout and work-related burnout. A dose-response of burnouts and metabolic syndrome components with exercise intensity are shown (p<0.05). Metabolic syndrome components were independently associated with burnout and exercise intensity in the crude model. After adjustment for potential confounders, waist circumference and systolic blood pressure differences showed significant associations with exercise intensity (p<0.05). This study demonstrated an effective approach to worksite exercise intervention and exercise intensity played an important role to alleviate damage between burnouts and metabolic syndrome components.
Performance of two new air sampling bags [the transparent bag (TP bag) and the semi-transparent bag (ST bag)] was examined as possible surrogates for the traditional PVF bag (the Ref bag). Solvent vapor mixture of butyl acetate, chloroform, ethyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol and toluene at administrative control levels were introduced to each bag (n=5 for each of the three types), and the decay in the concentrations (by%) was followed by use of a gas auto-sampler − FID-GC system. A trend of time-dependent decay was noted for all types including the Ref bag. When the performance was compared, the TP bag was equal to or even better than the Ref bag. In contrast, the performance of the ST bag was comparable to that of the other two types of bags with regard to toluene and chloroform when the storage time was short, but poorer than others for the other three solvents throughout the test period. The TP bag may be a bag of choice when the storage time is extended (e.g., up to 48 h) although this bag is physically less robust and requires careful handling. The ST bag may be used when analysis will be completed within 24 h.
The employee impact and attitude analysis for GHS implementation in Taiwan was investigated in this study. An impact assessment on the new regulations or changes in regulations for government, potential costs, benefits, and the global trade in chemicals to industries and hazard communication program for workers was studied by the methods of the questionnaire design and Delphi expert method. A survey was conducted using questionnaires and taking 200 experts from government’s expert database and 500 selected respondents from case company. Results from present study revealed that the barrier associated with GHS implementation is existed; it is feasible to overcome. Both experts and employees think that business entities are insufficient to test and classify chemicals on their own, and the technical guidance from the government is needed. Data analyzed by the logistic regression revealed that more hours an employee spends on education and trainings of new GHS systems; the employee thinks implementation of GHS will improve hazard awareness for transporters. The weak labeling ability affects deployment of the new GHS system.
This paper presents experimental research evaluation of the vibration exposure for the health risk prediction during vehicle operation. The vibration measurements were carried out on a recreational vehicle and two types of agricultural tractors. The vibration levels were measured for different surfaces and vehicle speed conditions. Based on the analysis of the results in the small agricultural tractor operated in the workplace (frameworks), Sed exceeded 0.80 MPa by ISO2631-5:2004, and Av exceeded 0.89 m/s2 by ISO2631-1:1997. That means that operators driving small agricultural tractors more than 8 h a day have a high probability of adverse health effects. However, the exposure value for the recreational vehicle had Sed < 0.5 MPa by ISO2631-5:2004 and Av < 0.5 m/s2 by ISO2631-1:1997 on highways and local roads. That means Recreational Vehicle operators driving more than 8 h a day, have a low probability of adverse health effects. Also, for the recreational vehicle, vibration was taken at different speeds (40–60 km/h, 80 km/h, 100–120 km/h). However, the speed change did not appear to affect the vibration dose variation while driving a vehicle on the highway and road. Finally, the health effect index of ISO2631-5:2004 are almost the same as assessment of health effect by ISO2631-1:1997.