Ramazzini; Blog on work and health by Annet Lenderink


Increasing prevalence of pneumoconiosis in US coal miners

Retrospective assessment of chest x-rays from 90,973 underground coal miners from Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia showed an increasing prevalence of pneumoconiosis over the past decade.

R-type opacities increased in the 1990s (PR=2.5; 95% CI=1.7–3.7) and after 1999 (PR=4.1; 95% CI=3.0–5.6) compared to the 1980s (adjusted for profusion category and miner age).

The prevalence of progressive massive fibrosis in 2000-2008 was also elevated compared to the 1980’s (PR=4.4; 95% CI=3.1–6.3) and 1990’s (PR=3.8; 95% CI=2.1–6.8).

The change in the epidemiology and disease profile documented in this and other recent studies imply that U.S. coal miners are being exposed to excessive amounts of respirable crystalline silica.

Pneumoconiosis among underground bituminous coal miners in the United States: is silicosis becoming more frequent?
A Scott Laney (aol4@cdc.gov)
Occup Environ Med doi:10.1136/oem.2009.047126 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chemical agents, lung, ,

COPD in construction and trade workers

A study of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among 7,579 current and former workers participating in medical screening programs at Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons facilities through September 2008 was undertaken. The age-standardized prevalence ratio of COPD among DOE workers compared to all NHANES III data was 1.3.  Statistically significant associations were observed for COPD and exposures to asbestos, silica, welding, cement dusts, and some tasks associated with exposures to paints, solvents, and removal of paints.

Airways obstruction among older construction and trade workers at Department Of Energy nuclear sites
John M. Dement, PhD, CIH, Laura Welch, MD, Knut Ringen, PH, MHA, MPH, Eula Bingham, PhD, Patricia Quinn, BA
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, published online 18 Dec 2009 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chemical agents, lung, occupational, ,

Case report on allergic reaction to rhodium salts

Whereas platinum salts are well known occupational allergens, rhodium salts have not been identified as inhalative sensitizing substances. A 27-year-old atopic operator of an electroplating plant developed work-related shortness of breath and runny nose with sneezing after exposure to rhodium salts. The patient showed positive skin prick test reactions and positive bronchial immediate-type reactions with rhodium and platinum salts. Sensitivity to rhodium salt was much higher than to platinum salt. Rhodium salts should be considered as occupational immediate-type allergens.

Occupational immediate-type asthma and rhinitis due to rhodium salts
Rolf Merget, MD, Ingrid Sander, PhD, Vera van Kampen, PhD , Monika Raulf-Heimsoth, PhD , Hans-Martin Ulmer, MD, Rupprecht Kulzer, MD , Thomas Bruening, MD  Am. J. Ind. Med. 2009, Accepted: 9 October 2009 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Allergies, Chemical agents, lung, Nose, ,

Asbestosis figures from British Columbia

To get insight in the true burden of asbestosis in the population it’s not enough to rely on a single source. Triangulation of workers’ compensation, hospitalisation and outpatient databases records is necessary to get a better picture.

Population-based asbestosis surveillance in British Columbia
W Q Gan, P A Demers, C B McLeod M Koehoorn
Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2009;66:766-771  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chemical agents, lung, Mesothelioma, ,

Working with detergent enzymes may cause lung problems

detergentsTwo recently published studies on the relationship between exposure to detergent enzymes and respiratory disease, confirming a relationship between the enzymes and occupational rhinitis or asthma. One from the UK and one from the Netherlands. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Asthma, Chemical agents, lung, ,

Nanoparticles and lung disease?

A few weeks back the very good blog The Pump Handle published a piece on nanoparticles, called: Case report: nanoparticles in workers’ lungs

“Three physicians and researchers from the Capital University of Medical Sciences (Beijing, China) have published a case report in the European Respiratory Journal describing severe lung disease in seven female workers employed at a shop where they applied polyacrylic coatings to polystyrene boards.  The lung disease is just one part of the story—two of the women died (ages 19 and 29)—the other part is that pathology samples from the workers’ lungs identified 30 nm (nanometer) in diameter particles.  Further investigation found that the coatings used by the workers contained nano partcles, too.”

It’s really worth reading because it gives you also some insights in the reactions on the article. The abstract of the original study is underneath:

Exposure to nanoparticles is related to pleural effusion, pulmonary fibrosis and granuloma
Y. Song, X. Li, X. Du
Eur Respir J 2009, doi:10.1183/09031936.00178308 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: lung, Occupational exposure, ,

Less flour dust not easy reached in bakeries

The effect of an intervention aimed at reducing exposure to flour dust and other allergy producing particles in bakers was evaluated. This intervention focused on risk education and providing information on good work practices in the Dutch flour processing industry. Exposure measures were executed pre and post intervention.

Changes in exposure over time varied substantially between sectors and jobs. For bakeries a modest downward annual trend of –2% was found for flour dust and –8% for amylase. For flour mills the annual trend for flour dust was –12%; no significant trend was observed for amylase.

The magnitude of the observed reductions in exposure levels indicates that the sector-wide intervention strategy implemented during the covenant period had a limited overall effect.

Meijster T, Tielemans E, Heederik D
Effect of an intervention aimed at reducing the risk of allergic respiratory disease in bakers: change in flour dust and fungal alpha-amylase levels Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Allergies, Asthma, Chemical agents, lung, , ,

Not only in HCWs; latex allergy by rubber trees

hevea brasiliensisPotential health effects related to wood dust from the rubber tree, which produces natural rubber latex, have not been previously investigated. The main aim of this study was to investigate the relations of rubber tree dust exposure to respiratory and skin symptoms, asthma and lung function among employess of 4 rubber tree furniture factories in Thailand.

The study provides new evidence that workers exposed to wood dust from the rubber tree experience increased risk of nasal symptoms, wheeze, asthma and skin symptoms and have reduced spirometric lung function.

Respiratory and skin effects of exposure to wood dust from the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis
Sripaiboonkij, P, Phanprasit, W, Jaakkola, M S
Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2009;66:442-447 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Allergies, lung, ,

Recognizing and preventing occupational asthma and lung diseases

If you want to learn more about recognizing and preventing occupational asthma and lung diseases, have a look at the powerpoint presentation by

Moira Chan Yeung ENG PTT

Filed under: Asthma, lung

Hypersensivity pneumonitis in contact with lovebirds

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis secondary to lovebirds: a new cause of bird fancier’s disease

Funke,M., Fellrath,J.M.
European Respiratory Journal 2008;32:517-521

Patient: a 59-yr-old Caucasian male was hospitalised because of progressive dyspnoe on exertion, weight loss and a febrile productive cough that did not respond to antibiotics.

Cause: A careful environmental history revealed a close contact with lovebirds shortly before the onset of symptoms. Precipitins were strongly positive against lovebird droppings, but were negative against other avian antigens.

Diagnosis: The patient was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis to lovebirds.

Treatment: Avoidance of lovebirds and steroid treatment led to rapid improvement.

Hypersensivity pneumonitis is an immunologically mediated lung disease due to repetitive inhalation of antigens that provoke lymphocytic inflammation and granulomatous lesions in the peripheral airways and surrounding interstitium. The only true effective tratment is early recognition of the causative antigen and control of exposure Active untreated HP may lead to irreversible fibroses and/or emphysema.

The present observation identifies a new causative agent for hypersensitivity pneumonitis and highlights the importance of a thorough environmental history and of searching for precipitins against antigens directly extracted from the patient’s environment.

Filed under: lung,


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Annet Lenderink

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