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Selected Category: Exposure

Can Workplace Exposures Increase Risks of Birth Defects? – Epidemiology in Action

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Epidemiology, Exposure, Reproductive Health, Women

Epidemiology is the art and science of using data to answer questions about the health of groups. In occupational epidemiology, we use that data to understand how work affects health. This blog entry is part of a series that shares the stories behind the data.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women get a lot of advice from just about everyone on just about everything– what to eat, medications to avoid, how much exercise they should do. When it comes to their jobs, though, the advice seems to dry up. That’s because occupational exposure limits are based on studies of healthy, non-pregnant workers and many early studies of occupational hazards were limited to men. These recommended exposure limits might not be sufficient to protect a developing fetus. We are trying to find out whether things people were exposed to at work like chemicals, noise, shift work, radiation, or germs affect their pregnancy outcomes and health of their children. One of the outcomes we study is birth defects.

A Health and Safety Evaluation at an Airline Catering Facility

Categories: Ergonomics, Exposure, Stress

 

The airline industry predicts that more than 24 million people will fly during the Thanksgiving holiday this year. If you are one of those passengers, chances are that you’ll have a snack or a soda on your way to your destination. Before reaching your seat, those snacks, beverages, and meals are prepared, assembled, and delivered by a catering company. In a recent Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) report, we described our evaluation of a catering facility in Michigan. We conducted the evaluation at the request of a union representing airline catering employees. The union was concerned about risks for musculoskeletal disorders, working in extreme hot and cold temperatures, job stress, and injuries in the facility’s kitchen and loading docks.

Help! What do you want from a mobile Pocket Guide?

Categories: Chemicals, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Exposure, Manufacturing, Personal Protective Equipment, Technology

Since its first printing in 1978, the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) continues to be the Institute’s most popular document. The NPG provides general descriptive, exposure, and protective and emergency recommendations for 677 chemicals commonly found in the work environment. Workers, employers, and occupational health professionals all use the NPG in the course of their work and often in emergency situations.  Fire fighters, for example, use the NPG to prepare themselves for exposures  they might encounter on fire scenes.

The current printed pocket guide is a 424 page, 3 inch by 7 inch, pocket-sized book.  We know many people rely on the printed version, particularly in times of emergency when power may be out or signals down or overextended. The NPG will continue to be available for print. We  also know that there is a growing demand for the NPG in a mobile version that could offer users more convenience and flexibility.  

Dangers of Bathtub Refinishing

Categories: Chemicals, Engineering Control, Exposure, Manufacturing

Nitrile-gloved hands refinishing a bathtubAt least 14 workers have died since 2000 as a result of using stripping agents containing methylene chloride during bathtub refinishing.  Many stripping products (including those that may also be available to consumers) contain high percentages of methylene chloride. Methylene chloride is extremely dangerous when not used properly.  Alternative products and processes exist for bathtub refinishing.  Products containing methylene chloride should be avoided when possible.  Earlier this week NIOSH and OSHA released a joint Hazard Alert titled Methylene Chloride Hazards for Bathtub Refinishers

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