Objective: In order to safely manage nuclear power plants, their workforce should be mentally healthy. This study clarifies the coping strategies of radiation control personnel and nondestructive inspectors engaged in the periodic inspection of nuclear power plants, the effect of the coping strategies on their mental health, as well as any effect based on whether or not they had worked after the nuclear disaster caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Methods: A questionnaire survey was administered to 133 technicians attending a certification course, and among them, our subjects of analysis were 104 people with work experience in radiation control and/or nondestructive inspection. Results: The results indicated that even among workers of the same company who were assigned to similar duties in the periodic inspections of nuclear power plants, the group that had worked at a nuclear plant after the disaster had a tendency to use coping strategies, such as giving up and avoidance-like thinking, which was dissimilar to the group that had not worked at a nuclear plant after the disaster. Further, the former group had higher levels of distress than those who tended to use other coping strategies. In addition, the results suggested that the plan-drafting strategy adopted by the group that had not worked after the disaster did not result in stress reduction. Discussion: Based on these results, we propose a stress management program specifically for radiation workers.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 169-177)
Objectives: This study evaluated the levels of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their relationship with oxidative DNA damage among Vietnamese coke-oven workers. Methods: We collected urine from 36 coke-oven workers (exposed group) at the beginning and end of the shift on 2 consecutive days. We also collected urine from 78 medical staff (control group). Information was collected by questionnaire about smoking status, drinking habit, and working position. Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG) were measured using HPLC. All statistical analyses were performed with SPSS version 19. Results: Urinary 1-OHP was significantly higher in the coke-oven workers than in the control group (p<0.05). Top-oven workers had the highest levels of internal exposure to PAHs, followed by side-oven and then bottom-oven workers (5.41, 4.41 and 1.35 ng/mg creatinine, respectively, at the end of the shift on day 2). Urinary 8-OH-dG was significantly higher in top- and side-oven workers at the end of the shift on day 2 (4.63 and 5.88 ng/mg creatinine, respectively) than in the control group (3.85 ng/mg creatinine). Based on a multi-regression analysis, smoking status had a significant effect on urinary 8-OH-dG (p=0.049). Urinary 1-OHP tended to have a positive correlation with urinary 8-OH-dG (p=0.070). Conclusions: Vietnamese coke-oven workers were exposed to PAHs during their work shift. Urinary 1-OHP exceeded the recommended limit, and elevated oxidative DNA damage occurred in top- and side-oven workers on the second day of work. A tendency for positive correlation was found between urinary 1-OHP and urinary 8-OH-dG.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 178-185)
Objectives: Asbestos causes lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma, and chronic inflammation is considered to participate in carcinogenesis. However, biomarkers to evaluate its carcinogenic risk have not been established. Reactive oxygen/nitrogen species are generated in biological systems under inflammatory conditions and may contribute to carcinogenesis by causing DNA damage. In this study, we examined the relationship between the formation of 8-nitroguanine (8-nitroG), a mutagenic DNA lesion formed during inflammation, and asbestos contents in human lung tissues. Methods: We obtained non-tumor lung tissues from patients with (n=15) and without mesothelioma (n=21). The expression of 8-nitroG and related molecules was examined by immunohistochemistry, and their staining intensities were semiquantitatively evaluated. Asbestos contents in lung tissues were analyzed by analytical transmission electron microscopy. Results: In subjects without mesothelioma, staining intensities of 8-nitroG and apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 (APE1) were significantly correlated with total asbestos and amphibole contents (p<0.05), but not with chrysotile content. In mesothelioma patients, their staining intensities were not correlated with asbestos contents. The double immunofluorescence technique revealed that APE1 was expressed in 8-nitroG-positive cells, suggesting that abasic sites were formed possibly due to the removal of 8-nitroG. The staining intensities of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine, an oxidative DNA lesion, and its repair enzyme 8-oxoguanine DNA-glycosylase were correlated with age (p<0.05), but not with asbestos contents in subjects without mesothelioma. Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate that 8-nitroG formation is associated with asbestos contents in human lung tissues. This finding raises a possibility that 8-nitroG serves as a biomarker that can be used to evaluate asbestos exposure and carcinogenic risk.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 186-196)
Objectives: To clarify effort-reward imbalance among eldercare workers in nursing homes and to examine the association between the effort-reward imbalance (ERI) and low back pain (LBP) among them. Methods: A total of 549 questionnaires were distributed to a random sample comprising 23% of the 79 special elderly nursing homes in Kagawa in 2013. A total of 467 eldercare workers (response rate 85%) participated in this study. Of the 467 eligible respondents, 372 (80%) completed all items of the ERI questionnaire. Complete data were available for 342 (73%) eldercare workers. Results: Of the 342 respondents, 215 (63%) had LBP at the time of the study, and 291 (85%) showed a critical “high cost/low gain” condition as determined by an effort-reward ratio >1. Multiple logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, gender, previous LBP experience, high-risk work and K6 score showed that eldercare workers with a high ERI had a higher risk for LBP than workers with a low ERI (OR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.02–3.77). Conclusions: Most eldercare workers have a high ERI, and their LBP is associated with their ERI. Balancing effort and reward may be an important factor for improving LBP among eldercare workers in nursing homes.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 197-204)
Objective: Occurrence of cholangiocarcinoma was recently reported at a high incidence rate among the employees working for an offset printing company in Osaka, Japan. 1,2-Dichloropropane (1,2-DCP) and dichloromethane (DCM) are suspected to be the causes of the cancer, as they had been used as ink cleaners in large amounts. However, it is not clear whether these chlorinated organic solvents played a role in the occurrence of cholangiocarcinoma or why the incidence rate is so high among the workers in this industry. To provide possible evidence for this severe occupational problem, we investigated the genotoxic effects of 1,2-DCP and DCM. Methods: Male B6C3F1 and gpt Delta C57BL/6J mice were exposed by inhalation to the individual solvents or both solvents at multiple concentrations including the levels that were possibly present in the workplaces. The genotoxicity was analyzed by Pig-a gene mutation and micronuclei assays in peripheral blood and gpt mutation and comet assays in the livers of mice after repeated inhalation of 1,2-DCP or/and DCM. Results: The Pig-a mutant frequencies and micronuclei incidences were not significantly increased by exposure of either 1,2-DCP or/and DCM at any concentration, suggesting there was no genotoxic potential in bone marrow for both solvents. In the liver, DNA damage, as measured by the comet assay, was dose dependently increased by 1,2-DCP but not by DCM. The gpt mutant frequency was 2.6-fold that of the controls in the co-exposure group. Conclusions: These results indicate that 1,2-DCP showed stronger genotoxicity in the liver and that the genotoxic effects were greatly enhanced by simultaneous exposure to DCM.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 205-214)
Objectives: The aim of the present study was to develop standardized cost estimation tools that provide information to employers about occupational safety and health (OSH) activities for effective and efficient decision making in Japanese companies. Methods: We interviewed OSH staff members including full-time professional occupational physicians to list all OSH activities. Using activity-based costing, cost data were obtained from retrospective analyses of occupational safety and health costs over a 1-year period in three manufacturing workplaces and were obtained from retrospective analyses of occupational health services costs in four manufacturing workplaces. We verified the tools additionally in four workplaces including service businesses. Results: We created the OSH and occupational health standardized cost estimation tools. OSH costs consisted of personnel costs, expenses, outsourcing costs and investments for 15 OSH activities. The tools provided accurate, relevant information on OSH activities and occupational health services. Conclusions: The standardized information obtained from our OSH and occupational health cost estimation tools can be used to manage OSH costs, make comparisons of OSH costs between companies and organizations and help occupational health physicians and employers to determine the best course of action.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 215-224)
Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between skill underutilization, a psychological job stressor proposed in the NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) job stress model, and the prevalence of hypertension. Methods: We studied sitting blood pressure and fasting blood laboratory parameters in 3,429 inhabitants of the town of Watari during annual health check-ups in 2010. A questionnaire was administered to examine job status, weekly working hours and degree of skill utilization. We divided subjects into tertiles according to skill utilization score. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed using prevalent hypertension as the dependent variable. Results: Questionnaires were collected from 2,550 individuals. After excluding those who were not in paid employment and those with missing data, 1,075 permanent or part-time workers were included in the final analysis. The odds ratio for the presence of hypertension was significantly higher in the lowest tertile of skill utilization score compared with the highest tertile (1.776; 95% confidence interval, 1.137–2.796) after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, triglyceride level, current smoking status and daily alcohol intake. Conclusions: Skill underutilization was associated with a higher prevalence of hypertension in a working population including various kinds of occupations.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 225-228)
Backgrounds: Two-component acrylic resin used in nail art and dentistry can cause allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), but only a few reports from Japan have been published. Cases: A 35-year-old female manicurist (case 1) and 30-year-old female dental hygienist (case 2) were diagnosed with ACD caused by ethyl methacrylate and methyl methacrylate in a liquid monomer of two-component acrylic resin respectively. Case 1 was sensitized from direct skin contact with nail art acrylic products, which could have been avoided, and gave up both being a manicurist and a user. Onset in case 2 occurred when she started to work as an apprentice. She had believed that the cause of her symptoms was use of disposable natural rubber gloves, not a liquid monomer penetrating through her gloves, until she was patch tested positive to (meth)acrylates and liquid monomer. Conclusions: To prevent sensitization, it should be emphasized in occupational training in both specialties that there should be no direct contact with acrylic products and that disposable gloves do not have sufficient protecting properties.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 229-234)
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