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Lagriffoul A.,Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire de lEnvironnement et du Travail | Boudenne J.L.,Aix - Marseille University | Absi R.,School of Industrial Biology | Ballet J.J.,University of Caen Lower Normandy | And 8 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2010

For around two decades, artificial snow has been used by numerous winter sports resorts to ensure good snow cover at low altitude areas or more generally, to lengthen the skiing season. Biological additives derived from certain bacteria are regularly used to make artificial snow. However, the use of these additives has raised doubts concerning the potential impact on human health and the environment. In this context, the French health authorities have requested the French Agency for Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (Afsset) to assess the health risks resulting from the use of such additives. The health risk assessment was based on a review of the scientific literature, supplemented by professional consultations and expertise. Biological or chemical hazards from additives derived from the ice nucleation active bacterium Pseudomonas syringae were characterised. Potential health hazards to humans were considered in terms of infectious, toxic and allergenic capacities with respect to human populations liable to be exposed and the means of possible exposure. Taking into account these data, a qualitative risk assessment was carried out, according to four exposure scenarios, involving the different populations exposed, and the conditions and routes of exposure. It was concluded that certain health risks can exist for specific categories of professional workers (mainly snowmakers during additive mixing and dilution tank cleaning steps, with risks estimated to be negligible to low if workers comply with safety precautions). P. syringae does not present any pathogenic capacity to humans and that the level of its endotoxins found in artificial snow do not represent a danger beyond that of exposure to P. syringae endotoxins naturally present in snow. However, the risk of possible allergy in some particularly sensitive individuals cannot be excluded. Another important conclusion of this study concerns use of poor microbiological water quality to make artificial snow. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Yamani M.E.,Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire de lEnvironnement et du Travail | Boulanger G.,Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire de lEnvironnement et du Travail | Nerriere-Catelinois E.,Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire de lEnvironnement et du Travail | Paillat A.,Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire de lEnvironnement et du Travail | And 6 more authors.
Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2012

In France, the present regulations on occupational exposure to asbestos fibers take into account fibers (FRp: fibers measured for industrial hygiene) with the following dimensions: L > 5μ m, D < 3μ m, and L/D > 3 where L is the length and D the diameter of the fiber. The limit value is set at 0.1 f/cm3 for 1 hr. By definition short asbestos fibers (SAFs) are the fibers with 0.5 μ m < L< 5 μ m, D < 3 μ m, and L/D ≤ 3; thin asbestos fibers (TAFs) are the fibers with L > 5 μ m, D < 0.2 μ m, and L/D ≥ 3. The aim assigned to the French Agency for Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (AFSSET) Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) Committee, was essentially to evaluate the following elements: the relevance of the present French OEL, knowing that this limit excludes the counting of SAFs and TAFs; the consistency of the OEL in light of the different varieties of asbestos by studying possible differential toxicity according to the type of asbestos (chrysotile vs. amphiboles); and the assessment of different measuring methods and their adaptation for taking into account the dimensional characteristics of the asbestos fibers (long, thin, short). In conclusion of this appraisal, AFSSET is calling for the OEL for asbestos to be lowered. Presently set at 0.1 f/cm3 (100 f/L), this leads to an excess risk for a worker that cannot be regarded as acceptable. Initially and without delay, AFSSET is suggesting lowering it to 10 f/L, as an average over 8 hr, In addition, AFSSET recommends that over a period of 15 minutes a concentration equal to 5 times the 8-hr value (8-hr OEL) should not be exceeded, in order to protect workers from the effects of potential peaks in exposure. Moreover, AFSSET recommends changing from optical to electronic microscopy to count asbestos fibers, within the framework of workplace regulations. This will allow thin asbestos fibers to be included. © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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