High exposures to electromagnetic fields (EMF) can occur near certain medical devices in the hospital environment. A systematic assessment of medical occupational EMF exposure could help to clarify where more attention to occupational safety may be needed. This paper seeks to identify sources of high exposure for hospital workers and compare the published exposure data to occupational limits in the European Union. A systematic search for peer-reviewed publications was conducted via PubMed and Scopus databases. Relevant grey literature was collected via a web search. For each publication, the highest measured magnetic flux density or internal electric field strength per device and main frequency component was extracted. For low frequency fields, high action levels may be exceeded for magnetic stimulation, MRI gradient fields and movement in MRI static fields. For radiofrequency fields, the action levels may be exceeded near devices for diathermy, electrosurgery and hyperthermia and in the radiofrequency field inside MRI scanners. The exposure limit values for internal electric field may be exceeded for MRI and magnetic stimulation. For MRI and magnetic stimulation, practical measures can limit worker exposure. For diathermy, electrosurgery and hyperthermia, additional calculations are necessary to determine if SAR limits may be exceeded in some scenarios.
It is common practice in India to consume the dairy drink buttermilk as a way of mitigating occupational heat strain. This paper explores the thermoregulatory and hydration benefits of drinking buttermilk but also the impacts of work in a hot environment on the gut microbiota, renal and cognitive function. Twelve healthy participants were subjected to a 3-h period of medium load physical intermittent work in a climatic chamber (34°C, 60% RH). The subjects were given water, buttermilk (700 ml) or no rehydration at random. Mean body temperatures when no rehydration was given were significantly higher (p≤0.001). When subjects drank water or buttermilk they had a lower sweat rate than with no rehydration (p≤0.05) and the perception of feeling hot, uncomfortable, thirsty and physically exerted was significantly reduced (p≤0.05). A hormonal stress response at the end of the exposure was seen when not drinking (p≤0.05). No differences in cognitive abilities and gut microbiota were found. The exposure lowered the renal blood flow suggesting an acute impact of short term heat exposure. It was also found that buttermilk has a protective effect on this impact. Our results demonstrated that keeping hydrated by water/buttermilk consumption mitigates heat strain in well-nourished subjects.
The aim of this study was to investigate fluctuations in heart rate variability (HRV), which reflect autonomic nervous system (ANS) function and potential psychological and physical strain, among 24 health care workers during work and sleep during four consecutive extended work shifts. Data included 24/36/12 h of HRV measurements, two logbooks, and a questionnaire. A cross-shift/cross-week design was applied. HRV was measured during work, leisure time, and sleep. The HRV data included time-domain [mean RR, SD of normal to normal R-R intervals (SDNN), and root mean square of the successive differences (RMSSD)] and frequency-domain [low frequency (LF)/high frequency (HF) ratio] parameters. HRV parameters revealed significant differences among work, leisure time, and sleep. Mean RR, RMSSD, and SDNN values were lower and the LF/HF ratio was higher on the first versus last day of the work period; however, the differences were most prominent in the morning hours. The results indicate higher levels of cardiovascular stress on the first versus fourth day of the working period, and measurements at night indicate a satisfactory recovery from the extended shifts.
Benzene, a hazardous component of gasoline, is a genotoxic class I human carcinogen. This study evaluated the genotoxic effects of occupational exposure to benzene in gasoline stations. Genotoxicity of exposure to benzene was assessed in peripheral blood leucocytes of 62 gasoline station workers and compared with an equal numbers of matched controls using total genomic DNA fragmentation, micronucleus test and cell viability test. An ambient air samples were collected and analyzed for Monitoring of benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene (BTEX) in work environment and control areas. DNA fragmentation, micronucleus and dead cells percent were significantly higher in exposed workers than controls. Level of benzene, Toluene, Ethyl benzene and xylene in the work environment were higher than the control areas and the permissible limits. Gasoline station workers occupationally exposed to benzene are susceptible to genotoxic effects indicated by increased DNA fragmentation, higher frequency of micronucleus and decreased leukocytes viability.
Smell of very low dose of chemical might evoke subjective physical symptoms in human by some process of learning named the aversion conditioning. But few scientific evidences of the hypothesis have been reported so far. Validity of conditioned odor aversion (COA) using low-doses of organic solvent as odor conditioned stimulus (CS) was examined. In conditioning phase, water-deprived male Sprague-Dawley rats were presented low, medium or high dose solution for 30 min followed by 0.3 M Lithium Chloride (LiCl) solution or saline injection. The xylene solution and drink water were simultaneously provided on the next day as two-bottle test. Consumption of medium dose of xylene solution was significantly decreased in LiCl injection group as compared with saline group. There was no difference between LiCl and saline injected animals in low group. Animals in high dose did not access to xylene even on the conditioning. These results indicate that animals showed high sensitivity for discrimination against concentration of xylene and that the medium dose of xylene functioned as the CS. We concluded that the COA used in the present study may be one of useful procedures to investigate olfaction of animal.
The peculiar characteristics of the greenhouses as confined spaces, microclimate and poor air exchange with the outside environment, encourage the development of a large number of biological agents. Endotoxin, is probably a major causative agent of occupational health problems. The objective of this study was to measure the concentrations of airborne endotoxin in greenhouses with different cultures. The influence of microclimate was studied in correlation with endotoxin levels and type of cultured vegetables. The data indicate that workers employed greenhouses are exposed to low levels of inhalable endotoxins; endotoxin concentrations do not correlate with the temperature and relative humidity values. A strong correlation between the leaf size and endotoxin concentration was observed. The mean concentration of endotoxins in the air of greenhouses is relatively low, however, there could be peaks of exposure during harvesting and eradication of broadleaf plants.
Periodic health checkups constitute an important public health strategy to prevent the onset of diseases and promote healthy behaviors. However, adherence to recommendations to undergo further medical examination after annual health checkups is not necessarily high. This study examined the factors related to adherence to recommendations among Japanese employees. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 219 employees who had ignored recommendations to visit a physician for the previous 3 yr; we assessed their work- and life-related factors, health status, and health literacy. We analyzed the data of 103 employees who met the inclusion criteria. Participants who lived alone and had a primary doctor, lower job demand, and lower self-rated health were significantly more likely to adhere to recommendations, suggesting that work- and life-related factors—rather than individual health literacy—may be more important. Further study is needed toward effective utilization of annual health checkups in the workplace.
The risk of psychological disorders influencing the health of workers increases in accordance with growing requirements on employees across various professions. This study aimed to compare approaches to the burnout syndrome in European countries. A questionnaire focusing on stress-related occupational diseases was distributed to national experts of 28 European Union countries. A total of 23 countries responded. In 9 countries (Denmark, Estonia, France, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden) burnout syndrome may be acknowledged as an occupational disease. Latvia has burnout syndrome explicitly included on the List of ODs. Compensation for burnout syndrome has been awarded in Denmark, France, Latvia, Portugal and Sweden. Only in 39% of the countries a possibility to acknowledge burnout syndrome as an occupational disease exists, with most of compensated cases only occurring in recent years. New systems to collect data on suspected cases have been developed reflecting the growing recognition of the impact of the psychosocial work environment. In agreement with the EU legislation, all EU countries in the study have an action plan to prevent stress at the workplace.
Elbow length PVC gloves are often recommended for protection against organophosphorus pesticide (OP) exposure in agriculture. However, performance may be reduced due to high temperature, UV exposure and abrasion. We sought to assess these impacts for two OPs under normal use and reasonable worst-case scenarios. Glove permeation tests were conducted using ASTM cells with two PVC glove brands at 23°C and 45°C for up to 8 h. Technical grade dichlorvos and formulated diazinon were used undiluted and at application strength. Breakthough of undiluted dichlorvos occurred at both 23°C and 45°C, but only at 45°C for application strength. Breakthrough of diazinon was not achieved, except when undiluted at 45°C. UV-exposed and abraded gloves showed reduced performance, with the effect being approximately two-fold for dichlorvos. Only small differences were noted between glove brands. Extra precautions should be taken when handling concentrated OPs at high temperature, or when using abraded or sunlight-exposed gloves.
Heat stress in glass industry is mainly studied in large and highly mechanized manufacturing Units. To the contrary, few studies were carried out in small factories specialized in hand-made products. To stress the need of combined objective and medical surveys in these environments, this paper deals with a simultaneous climatic and physiological investigation of working conditions in artistic crystal glass factories in Tuscany (Italy). The microclimatic monitoring, through a continuous survey has been carried out in early spring. The main physiological parameters (metabolic rate, heart rate, tympanic temperature and water loss) were measured over the whole shifts. The results show that, despite the arduousness of the working conditions, the heat stress levels are physiologically tolerable. The predictions made using the PHS model at the Analysis level described in ISO 15265 agree closely to the observed values, validating the use of PHS model in these conditions. This model was then used to analyse what is likely to be the situation during the summer. It is concluded that the heat constraint will be very high and that some steps must be taken from the spring to monitor closely the exposed workers in the summer and take measures to prevent any heat accident.