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Sharma M.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Manmade nanoparticles range from the well-established multi-ton production of carbon black and fumed silica for applications in plastic fillers and car tyres to microgram quantities of fluorescent quantum dots used as markers in biological imaging. While benefits of nanotechnology are widely publicized, the discussion of the potential effects of their widespread use in the consumer and industrial products are just beginning to emerge. Acceptance of nanoparticle toxicity led to wide acceptance of the fact that nanotoxicology, as a scientific discipline shall be quite different from occupational hygiene in approach and context. Understanding the toxicity of nanomaterials and nano-enabled products is important for human and environmental health and safety as well as public acceptance. Assessing the state of knowledge about nanotoxicology is an important step in promoting comprehensive understanding of the health and environmental implications of these new materials. Very limited data exist for health effects secondary to inhalation of very fine respirable particles in the occupational environment. Nanomaterials may have effects on health due to their size, surface, shape, charge, or other factors, which are not directly predictable from mass concentration measurements. Numerous epidemiological studies have associated exposure to small particles such as combustion-generated fine particles with lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and/or increased mortality. The omnipresence of nanoparticles shifts focus of research toward efforts to mitigate the health effects of nanoparticles. Newer health assessment methods and newer techniques need to be developed for diagnosing sub-optimal health in populations exposed to carbon nanoparticles. Source

Verma Y.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Toxicology and Industrial Health

Toxicity of dye containing effluent of tannery, textile, dyes and pulp-paper industries was evaluated in an acute toxicity test using Daphnia magna. The 48-hour EC 50 values were 4.33% and 19.5% for tannery effluents (Tn1 and Tn2). Textile effluents (Tx1-Tx7) had 48-hour EC 50 values; >100%, >100%, 62.9%, 63.0%, 40.3%, >100% and >100%, respectively. Dye industries (D1-D7) had 48-hour EC 50 values; 14.1%, 15.5%, 24.5%, 29.7%, 23.2%, >100% and >100%, respectively. Similarly pulp-paper effluents (P1-P5) showed acute toxicity as 100%, 77.87%, 46.44%, 69.55% and 82.84%, respectively. These results showed linear relationship with high degree of confidence (r 2 ? 0.84-0.99) between immobility and test concentrations. Toxicity classification criteria showed that out of five effluents from pulp-paper mill, four were minor acutely toxic having 48-hour EC 50 value in between >46%-100%. Out of seven textile effluents, four were not acutely toxic (48-hour EC 50 value >100%) and three were minor acutely toxic (48-hour EC 50 value in the range of 40.3%-63.0%). Similarly, out of seven dye industrial effluents, two were not acutely toxic and five minor acutely toxic. One of the two tanneries was moderately acutely toxic and another one was minor acutely toxic. Classification based on toxic unit revealed that four out of five pulp-paper effluent, three out of seven textile effluents, five out of seven dye effluents and both the tannery effluents were toxic. Overall, 66.67% effluents were found toxic and 33.33% as non-toxic. In general, tannery and dyes effluents showed more toxicity than textile and paper mill effluents. © 2011 The Author(s). Source

Sterud T.,National Institute of Occupational Health
European Journal of Public Health

Background: The overall evidence for work-related mechanical exposures as risk factors for long-term sick leave (LTSL) in the general working population is limited. Methods: The study cohort was randomly drawn from the general population in Norway, aged 18-69 years (n = 12 255, response at baseline = 60.9%). Eligible respondents were interviewed in 2009 and were registered with an active employee relationship of at least 100 actual working days in 2009 and 2010 (n = 6758). The outcome of interest was medically confirmed LTSL â 40 working days during 2010. Results: In total, 9.4% (635 individuals) were classified with LTSL during 2010. The risk of LTSL was higher in women, employees with fewer years of education, regular smokers, employees with chronic health complaints and employees with LTSL during 2009. After adjusting for these factors, we estimated that 24.6% of LTSL cases were attributable to work-related mechanical exposure. Mechanical risk factors were neck flexion, hand/arm repetition, standing, working with upper body bent forward and awkward lifting. The odds ratio for highest exposure levels ranged from 1.32 (95% confidence interval 1.04-1.69) for standing to 2.15 (95% confidence interval 1.24-3.73) for awkward lifting. A test for trend was statistically significant for all contributing factors (P ≤ 0.05), except standing. No psychosocial factors acted as major confounders related to any of the mechanical risk factors. Conclusion: This study underlines the importance of work-related mechanical exposures as risk factors for LTSL in the general working population. An exposure-response relationship was indicated for 5 of the 10 factors evaluated. © 2013 The Author. Source

Sterud T.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health

Objectives This study examines the impact of work-related psychosocial and mechanical risk factors for work disability in the general working population. Methods A randomly drawn cohort from the general population in Norway aged 18-66 years was followed for 3 years (N=12 550, 67% response rate at baseline). Eligible respondents were in paid work for ≥10 hours per week in 2006 and were still in paid work or had quit working because of health problems (work disability) in 2009 (N=6745). Five work-related psychosocial factors and eight mechanical exposures were measured. The outcome of interest was self-reported work disability at 3-year follow-up. Results In total, 2.6% (176 individuals) reported work disability at the 3-year follow-up. Disability rates were higher among women, older workers, and those with fewer years of education and higher levels of psychological distress and musculoskeletal complaints. After adjusting for these factors, work-related psychosocial predictors of disability were low levels of supportive leadership [odds ratio (OR) 1.61, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.02-2.56] and monotonous work (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.09-2.16). Mechanical factors were neck flexion (OR 2.49, 95% CI 1.36-4.56), prolonged standing (OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.21-2.46), whole-body vibration (OR 4.15, 95% CI 1.77-9.71), and heavy physical work (OR 2.23. 95% CI 1.08-4.57). The estimated population risk attributable to these factors was about 45%. Conclusion Monotonous work, prolonged standing, neck flexion, and whole-body vibration appear to be the most consistent and important predictors of work disability. Source

Sterud T.,National Institute of Occupational Health
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health

Objectives This study aimed to examine gender differences in physician-certified sick leave and the extent to which these differences can be explained by work-related psychosocial and mechanical risk factors. Methods Randomly drawn from the general population in Norway, the cohort comprised working men and women aged 18-69 years (N=12 255, response rate at baseline = 60.9%). Eligible respondents were interviewed in 2009 and registered with an active employee relationship of ≥100 actual working days in 2009 and 2010 (N=3688 men and 3070 women). The study measured 11 work-related psychosocial factors and 11 mechanical exposures, and outcomes of interest were physician-certified general sick leave (GSL) >0 days and long-term sick leave (LTSL) ≥40 working days during 2010. Results Women reported a significantly higher level of exposure to 9 of the 11 psychosocial factors evaluated. For mechanical factors, the reporting was mixed. After controlling for age, educational level, sick leave during 2009, housework, working hours and family status, a 1.7-fold risk for GSL and LTSL were found among women. In comparison with the initial model, adjusting for psychosocial factors reduced the excess risk by 21% and 27% for GSL and LTSL, respectively. The total effect of mechanical factors was negligible. Differences between occupations held by women and men explained an additional one-tenth of the excess risk for LTSL among women. Conclusions Work-related psychosocial factors contributed significantly to a higher level of GSL and LTSL among women. The most important factors were demands for hiding emotions, emotional demands, and effortpayment imbalance. Source

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