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Human Molecular Genetics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 9, SJR: 4.288, h-index: 233)
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Information and Inference     Free  
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Journal Cover Annals of Work Exposures and Health
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   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 2398-7308 - ISSN (Online) 2398-7316
   Published by Oxford University Press Homepage  [370 journals]
  • How Accurate and Reliable Are Exposure Models'
    • Authors: Fransman W.
      Pages: 907 - 910
      Abstract: In this issue of the Annals of Work Exposures and Health, several authors report on the validation of exposure assessment models. Since the introduction of the European regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH; European Parliament, 2006), various risk/exposure assessment tools have been developed and are currently widely used for chemical safety assessments. Between the start of the REACH Registration period in 2008 and September 2014, around 40000 substance dossiers had been submitted to ECHA. As noted by George Box in 1987 ‘essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful’ (Box et al., 1987), and more recently it has been stated that models cannot and should not replace the collection of good quality exposure measurements (Kromhout, 2016). Nevertheless, the European occupational hygiene community will not be able to collect a sufficient number of exposure measurements to obtain exposure estimates for all relevant existing and new exposure scenarios. The risk assessments under REACH hence follow a tiered approach in which the first tier should provide a conservative (i.e. protective) system that can discriminate between substances in scenarios of some concern and those which are considered safe, and higher tier models should provide a higher degree of accuracy, even if at a cost of less conservative results.
      PubDate: 2017-08-03
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx068
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • Evaluation of Tier One Exposure Assessment Models (ETEAM): Project
           Overview and Methods
    • Authors: Tischer M; Lamb J, Hesse S, et al.
      Pages: 911 - 920
      Abstract: Within the European Union, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation (European Parliament, 2006) requires the registration of chemical substances which are manufactured or imported in amounts of 1 tonne or more per year. If the substance being registered is manufactured or imported in quantities of 10 tonnes or more per year, registrants must undertake a chemical safety assessment (CSA) and complete a chemical safety report (CSR). For classified substances, the CSA has to include an exposure assessment for all identified uses. Several computer-based tools are mentioned in the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) REACH guidance (ECHA, 2012, 2016) as being suitable for assessing worker exposure within the substance registration process. These tools vary in area of application, level of detail and outputs, from simple screening tier 1 tools, which are designed to easily and quickly differentiate those situations that may pose a risk to health from those which do not, to more advanced, higher level tools that should give a more refined and accurate estimate of exposure (for example, Advanced REACH Tool, 2013). Tool predictions are used to identify, iterate, and verify the risk management measures (RMMs) required to control exposure in workplaces, with this information distributed to substance users via the supply chain.
      PubDate: 2017-08-14
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx066
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • Validation of Lower Tier Exposure Tools Used for REACH: Comparison of
           Tools Estimates With Available Exposure Measurements
    • Authors: van Tongeren M; Lamb J, Cherrie J, et al.
      Pages: 921 - 938
      Abstract: AbstractBackgroundTier 1 exposure tools recommended for use under REACH are designed to easily identify situations that may pose a risk to health through conservative exposure predictions. However, no comprehensive evaluation of the performance of the lower tier tools has previously been carried out. The ETEAM project aimed to evaluate several lower tier exposure tools (ECETOC TRA, MEASE, and EMKG-EXPO-TOOL) as well as one higher tier tool (STOFFENMANAGER®). This paper describes the results of the external validation of tool estimates using measurement data.MethodsMeasurement data were collected from a range of providers, both in Europe and United States, together with contextual information. Individual measurement and aggregated measurement data were obtained. The contextual information was coded into the tools to obtain exposure estimates. Results were expressed as percentage of measurements exceeding the tool estimates and presented by exposure category (non-volatile liquid, volatile liquid, metal abrasion, metal processing, and powder handling). We also explored tool performance for different process activities as well as different scenario conditions and exposure levels.ResultsIn total, results from nearly 4000 measurements were obtained, with the majority for the use of volatile liquids and powder handling. The comparisons of measurement results with tool estimates suggest that the tools are generally conservative. However, the tools were more conservative when estimating exposure from powder handling compared to volatile liquids and other exposure categories. In addition, results suggested that tool performance varies between process activities and scenario conditions. For example, tools were less conservative when estimating exposure during activities involving tabletting, compression, extrusion, pelletisation, granulation (common process activity PROC14) and transfer of substance or mixture (charging and discharging) at non-dedicated facilities (PROC8a; powder handling only). With the exception of STOFFENMANAGER® (for estimating exposure during powder handling), the tools were less conservative for scenarios with lower estimated exposure levels.ConclusionsThis is the most comprehensive evaluation of the performance of REACH exposure tools carried out to date. The results show that, although generally conservative, the tools may not always achieve the performance specified in the REACH guidance, i.e. using the 75th or 90th percentile of the exposure distribution for the risk characterisation. Ongoing development, adjustment, and recalibration of the tools with new measurement data are essential to ensure adequate characterisation and control of worker exposure to hazardous substances.
      PubDate: 2017-07-18
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx056
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • Between-User Reliability of Tier 1 Exposure Assessment Tools Used Under
    • Authors: Lamb J; Galea K, Miller B, et al.
      Pages: 939 - 953
      Abstract: AbstractWhen applying simple screening (Tier 1) tools to estimate exposure to chemicals in a given exposure situation under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals Regulation 2006 (REACH), users must select from several possible input parameters. Previous studies have suggested that results from exposure assessments using expert judgement and from the use of modelling tools can vary considerably between assessors. This study aimed to investigate the between-user reliability of Tier 1 tools. A remote-completion exercise and in person workshop were used to identify and evaluate tool parameters and factors such as user demographics that may be potentially associated with between-user variability. Participants (N = 146) generated dermal and inhalation exposure estimates (N = 4066) from specified workplace descriptions (‘exposure situations’) and Tier 1 tool combinations (N = 20). Interactions between users, tools, and situations were investigated and described. Systematic variation associated with individual users was minor compared with random between-user variation. Although variation was observed between choices made for the majority of input parameters, differing choices of Process Category (‘PROC’) code/activity descriptor and dustiness level impacted most on the resultant exposure estimates. Exposure estimates ranging over several orders of magnitude were generated for the same exposure situation by different tool users. Such unpredictable between-user variation will reduce consistency within REACH processes and could result in under-estimation or overestimation of exposure, risking worker ill-health or the implementation of unnecessary risk controls, respectively. Implementation of additional support and quality control systems for all tool users is needed to reduce between-assessor variation and so ensure both the protection of worker health and avoidance of unnecessary business risk management expenditure.
      PubDate: 2017-08-28
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx074
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • Comparing the Advanced REACH Tool’s (ART) Estimates With Switzerland’s
           Occupational Exposure Data
    • Authors: Savic N; Gasic B, Schinkel J, et al.
      Pages: 954 - 964
      Abstract: AbstractThe Advanced REACH Tool (ART) is the most sophisticated tool used for evaluating exposure levels under the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals (REACH) regulations. ART provides estimates at different percentiles of exposure and within different confidence intervals (CIs). However, its performance has only been tested on a limited number of exposure data. The present study compares ART’s estimates with exposure measurements collected over many years in Switzerland. Measurements from 584 cases of exposure to vapours, mists, powders, and abrasive dusts (wood/stone and metal) were extracted from a Swiss database. The corresponding exposures at the 50th and 90th percentiles were calculated in ART. To characterize the model’s performance, the 90% CI of the estimates was considered. ART’s performance at the 50th percentile was only found to be insufficiently conservative with regard to exposure to wood/stone dusts, whereas the 90th percentile showed sufficient conservatism for all the types of exposure processed. However, a trend was observed with the residuals, where ART overestimated lower exposures and underestimated higher ones. The median was more precise, however, and the majority (≥60%) of real-world measurements were within a factor of 10 from ART’s estimates. We provide recommendations based on the results and suggest further, more comprehensive, investigations.
      PubDate: 2017-08-03
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx069
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • Blue-Light Hazard From Gas Metal Arc Welding of Aluminum Alloys
    • Authors: Nakashima H; Takahashi J, Fujii N, et al.
      Pages: 965 - 974
      Abstract: AbstractObjectivesThe objective was to quantify the blue-light hazard from gas metal arc welding (GMAW) of aluminum alloys. The exposure level is expected to depend on the welding conditions. Therefore, it is important to identify the blue-light hazard under various welding conditions.MethodsWe experimentally conducted GMAW of aluminum alloys under various welding conditions and measured the spectral radiance of the arcs. The effective blue-light radiance, which the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists has defined to quantify the exposure level of blue light, was calculated from the measured spectral radiance. The maximum acceptable exposure duration per 10000 s for this effective blue-light radiance was calculated.ResultsThe effective blue-light radiance measured in this study was in the range of 2.9–20.0 W cm−2·sr. The corresponding maximum acceptable exposure duration per 10000 s was only 5.0–34 s, so it is hazardous to view the welding arc. The effective blue-light radiance was higher at higher welding currents than at lower welding currents, when pulsed welding currents were used rather than steady welding currents, and when magnesium was included in the welding materials.ConclusionsIt is very hazardous to view the arcs in GMAW of aluminum alloys. Welders and their helpers should use appropriate eye protection in arc-welding operations. They should also avoid direct light exposure when starting an arc-welding operation.
      PubDate: 2017-07-21
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx062
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • A Method to Quantitatively Assess Dermal Exposure to Volatile Organic
    • Authors: Creta M; Poels K, Thoelen L, et al.
      Pages: 975 - 985
      Abstract: AbstractAssessing dermal exposure of workers to noxious chemicals becomes increasingly important in industrial settings. Among various chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are widely used in industrialized countries, but still there are no validated methodologies able to accurately quantify skin exposure. In this study, we developed a sensitive methodology based on activated charcoal cloth (ACC) to quantitatively assess skin exposure to 181 VOCs. The majority of the VOCs (156) showed a constant desorption efficiency (DE) of ~100% over the studied concentration range. Seven VOCs showed a concentration dependency for the DEs, which we described by a Dubinin–Raduskevich desorption isotherm. For 18 compounds, the DEs were situated below 80% but showed to be constant over the concentration range. All tested VOCs showed a good storage stability on ACC, especially at −80°C storage. Only for n-pentane there was a decrease of ~40% when it was stored for a month. In a controlled environment test, ACC has shown to reflect well the increasing concentrations of VOCs in the air with a high linearity (R2 ≥ 0.812, except for gamma-butyrolactone where R2 = 0.570). In this study, we show that ACC is a suitable sampling material for quantitatively assessing dermal exposure to 181 VOCs in terms of sensitivity and DE. This method will allow more studies that are detailed on dermal exposure, which will lead to a better assessment of skin exposure in occupational settings.
      PubDate: 2017-07-29
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx054
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • Surveillance and Analysis of Occupational Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in the
           Paris Region
    • Authors: Dos Santos E; Villa A, Garnier R, et al.
      Pages: 986 - 993
      Abstract: AbstractObjectivesAcute carbon monoxide poisoning is common and often severe. Domestic causes have been extensively documented, while occupational exposures have been reported less frequently. We analyse occupational carbon monoxide poisonings from the available data of the carbon monoxide poisoning surveillance network for Paris and its region, and identify predictive factors of severity for occupational poisoning in order to identify priority prevention actions.MethodsWe retrospectively reviewed all events of acute accidental carbon monoxide exposures which occurred in the Paris region, at the work place, and notified to the surveillance network from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2011.ResultsOver the 7-year study period, 362 exposed workers were identified, representing 8.15% of all cases of carbon monoxide exposures. The largest number of events occurred in the building sector and most commonly affected occupations were craft and related trades workers. The most common sources of exposure were internal combustion engine equipment that was involved in almost half of cases. Minor severity was observed in 86% of cases, and 13% were moderate or more. We identify that the use of internal combustion engine equipment was significantly associated with increased severity.ConclusionsOccupational carbon monoxide poisoning is reported less frequently than domestic poisoning and has different and more numerous causes. It can be potentially severe, especially when it is caused by internal combustion engine equipment. Information about risks, compliance with instructions and cleaning rules, and establishment of collective and individual protective equipment would significantly reduce the frequency and severity of carbon monoxide poisoning.
      PubDate: 2017-08-03
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx063
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • Monitoring Surface Contamination by Antineoplastic Drugs in Italian
           Hospitals: Performance-Based Hygienic Guidance Values (HGVs) Project
    • Authors: Sottani C; Grignani E, Oddone E, et al.
      Pages: 994 - 1002
      Abstract: AbstractAntineoplastic drugs (ADs) will continue to represent a potential risk for personnel involved in the handling of these compounds and great concerns have been raised by the presence of ADs in many surveyed workplaces. Eight hospitals were investigated by means of wipe sampling for surface residue determination. Each wipe sample was tested for five ADs considered suitable exposure markers. Cyclophosphamide (CP), gemcitabine (GEM), 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), platinum-containing drugs (Pt), and epi-doxorubicin (EPI) contamination levels were measured in 85 per cent of the studied pharmacies and 93 per cent of outpatient care units (OpCUs). This study showed that 83 out of 349 samples were positive in Pharmacies, this proportion being statistically significant (χ2 = 42.9, p < 0.001). The positive samples provided evidence of at least one substance with levels greater than the limit of detection (LOD). The two most frequently detected substances were Pt (42%) and CP (30%). These accounted for 72 per cent of the whole dataset, followed by 5-FU and GEM. Based on the 90th percentile of wipe sampling data distribution, we suggest hygienic guidance values (HGVs) of 3.6, 1.0, 0.9, and 0.5 ng cm−2 for CP, 5-FU, GEM and Pt, respectively, as the best target levels of the surface contamination load in Italian pharmacies. The approach of proposing guidance values at the 90th percentile of results obtained from workplaces with good hygiene practice was found to be a simple and practical way of controlling occupational exposure. HGVs were challenged in this study as technical threshold limits to benchmark AD residual surface contamination at workplaces.
      PubDate: 2017-08-02
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx065
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • Wipe Sampling Method and Evaluation of Environmental Variables for
           Assessing Surface Contamination of 10 Antineoplastic Drugs by Liquid
           Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry
    • Authors: Colombo M; Jeronimo M, Astrakianakis G, et al.
      Pages: 1003 - 1014
      Abstract: AbstractThis paper describes a novel wipe sampling and high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) method capable of simultaneously detecting 10 antineoplastic drugs (5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, methotrexate, vindesine, ifosfamide, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, vinblastine, docetaxel, and paclitaxel). The good overall recoveries and sensitivity values of this method along with the comparatively short run time (8 min) allows for its use in routine monitoring in health care facilities. The long-term behavior of the studied drugs on contaminated surfaces and the effect of surface roughness on drug recoveries were studied to gain insights about how these environmental variables influence the detection, cleaning, and occupational exposure of these drugs. Surfaces with higher roughness parameter (Ra) values (rougher) had the lowest recoveries while those with lower Ra (smoother) presented the highest recoveries. Long-term assessments evidence distinctive drug behaviors with oxaliplatin, vindesine, vincristine, and vinblastine being the less persistent drugs (~20% was recovered after 24 h) and docetaxel and paclitaxel the most persistent drugs with recoveries of 40% and 80% after 1 month. This information indicates the importance of collecting ancillary information about drug usage (throughput, timing, cleaning procedures, etc.) to interpret the results in the context of potential exposure. Finally, the method was successfully applied to evaluate trace surface contamination down to the single picogram per square centimeter in multiple work areas within three local health care centers on Vancouver Island, Canada.
      PubDate: 2017-08-03
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx070
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • Comprehensive Biological Monitoring to Assess Isocyanates and Solvents
           Exposure in the NSW Australia Motor Vehicle Repair Industry
    • Authors: Hu J; Cantrell P, Nand A.
      Pages: 1015 - 1023
      Abstract: AbstractUrethane products that contain isocyanates are extensively used in the motor vehicle repair (MVR) industry and other industries such as furniture and cabinet-making as two-pack spray paints, clears, and adhesives. Attention has recently been refocussed on isocyanate-containing chemicals, particularly in paints. The spray painters in the MVR industry had a propensity to develop industrial asthma at a rate 80 times higher than the general public, which was previously reported in the UK. To track workers exposure to isocyanates, urine samples were collected from 196 spray painters who worked mainly in 78 MVR shops across 54 New South Wales (NSW) towns and suburbs. The biological monitoring also covered exposure testing to a wide variety of solvents including aromatic hydrocarbons, ketones, and alcohols. The main finding of the study was that 2.6% of the spray painters surveyed in the MVR industry in NSW that handled isocyanate-containing paints showed exposure to isocyanates; with 1.0% being moderately exposed, which is more than twice the current UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Biological Monitoring Guidance Value (BMGV) of 1 µmol mol−1 creatinine. Potential exposures to toluene (a solvent often found in paint thinners) was monitored via hippuric acid (HA) urine levels and showed 2.6% of the spray painters surveyed to be over the US’ American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Biological Exposure Index (BEI) of 1010 mmol/mole creatinine for HA. The other solvents or their metabolites were all below their respective BEI; these comprised benzene, xylene, ethyl benzene, methyl ethyl ketone, acetone, methanol, and ethanol. These findings indicate that isocyanates and certain solvents exposure were occurring in the NSW Australia vehicle repair industry, albeit at lower levels than previous occupational biological monitoring studies that showed higher exposure levels, particularly for isocyanates. One reason for this could be the increasing use of water-based paints in the industry, resulting in lower than expected isocyanate and solvent metabolite levels detected in this more recent study. Further, the completion of sample context form, along with spot urine collection in relation to the isocyanate exposure monitoring work details will provide crucial information to interpret the biological analysis results. The development of new biomarkers of isocyanate oligomer-derived triamines should be incorporated in the assessment of isocyanate exposure in the MVR industry to provide a more complete picture of isocyanate exposure.
      PubDate: 2017-07-29
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx064
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • Atopy as a Modifier of the Relationships Between Endotoxin Exposure and
           Symptoms Among Laboratory Animal Workers
    • Authors: Newton A; Davis M, Koehler K, et al.
      Pages: 1024 - 1028
      Abstract: AbstractBackgroundExposure to endotoxin is known to trigger airway inflammation and symptoms, and atopy may modify the relationship between endotoxin exposure and symptom development.ObjectiveTo test the a priori hypothesis that atopic status modifies the relationship between endotoxin exposure and respiratory symptom development.MethodsA prospective study of laboratory workers at The Jackson Laboratories was conducted. Allergy skin testing was performed and population demographic and clinical information was obtained at baseline. Personal exposure assessments for airborne endotoxin and surveys of self-reported symptoms were performed every 6 months. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine the relationship between endotoxin exposure and development of mouse-associated symptoms and multivariate regression was used to test for interaction.ResultsOverall, 16 (9%) of 174 worker-participants developed mouse-associated rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms by 24 months and 8 (5%) developed mouse-associated lower respiratory symptoms by 24 months. Among workers with endotoxin exposure above the median (≥2.4 EU m−3), 5 (6% of 80) atopics reported mouse-associated rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms at 24 months as compared to 3 (3% of 94) non-atopics. Among workers below the median endotoxin exposure (<2.4 EU m−3), 1 (1% of 80) atopic reported mouse-associated rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms at 24 months as compared to 7 (7% of 94) non-atopics. For the combination of symptoms, the adjusted hazard ratio was 6.8 (95% confidence interval: 0.7–67.2) for atopics and 0.07 (95% confidence interval: 0.01–0.5) for non-atopics.ConclusionIn this occupational cohort, atopic workers may be more susceptible to, and non-atopic workers protected from, endotoxin-associated upper and lower respiratory symptoms.
      PubDate: 2017-07-20
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx061
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
  • A Pilot Study: The UNC Passive Aerosol Sampler in a Working Environment
    • Authors: Shirdel M; Wingfors H, Andersson B, et al.
      Pages: 1029 - 1034
      Abstract: AbstractObjectivesDust is generally sampled on a filter using air pumps, but passive sampling could be a cost-effective alternative. One promising passive sampler is the University of North Carolina passive aerosol sampler (UNC sampler). The aim of this study is to characterize and compare the UNC sampler’s performance with PM10 and PM2.5 impactors in a working environment.MethodsArea sampling was carried out at different mining locations using UNC samplers in parallel with PM2.5 and PM10 impactors. Two different collection surfaces, polycarbonate (PC) and carbon tabs (CT), were employed for the UNC sampling. Sampling was carried out for 4–25 hours.ResultsThe UNC samplers underestimated the concentrations compared to PM10 and PM2.5 impactor data. At the location with the highest aerosol concentration, the time-averaged mean of PC showed 24% and CT 35% of the impactor result for PM2.5. For PM10, it was 39% with PC and 58% with CT. Sample blank values differed between PC and CT. For PM2.5, PC blank values were ~7 times higher than those of CT, but only 1.8 times higher for PM10. The blank variations were larger for PC than for CT.ConclusionsParticle mass concentrations appear to be underestimated by the UNC sampler compared to impactors, more so for PM2.5 than for PM10. CT may be preferred as a collection surface because the blank values were lower and less variable than for PC. Future validations in the working environment should include respirable dust sampling.
      PubDate: 2017-08-05
      DOI: 10.1093/annweh/wxx067
      Issue No: Vol. 61, No. 8 (2017)
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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