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NFL Players Tackling Heart Disease

Categories: Cardiovascular Disease, Sports and Entertainment

A football player in a green jersey holding a football.Many football players are essentially paid to be big—really big—especially those whose job is to block or stop the big guys on the other team.  There is a good chance that these players weigh in at sizes that are classified as obese as defined by body mass index (BMI).  In the general population, high BMI generally correlates with high body fat, and we know that high body fat is a risk factor for death (mortality) and heart disease.  Is the same true for elite athletes, for whom high BMI may relate to increased muscularity rather than increased body fat?  What if the athlete plays a position where size simply matters, regardless of whether size is related to muscle or to body fat?   And what happens when former athletes are no longer conditioning at their playing-day levels?  Do professional football players die earlier than or more often from heart disease or cancer than the average American male?   New research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) helps answer these and other questions.

Cold Stress

Categories: At-risk Populations, Construction, Outdoor Work

Heavy equipment shoveling heavy snowFor many, a sweater or an extra degree on the thermostat is all that’s needed to keep warm at work on a cold day. Not so for those working outside or in an area that is poorly insulated or without heat. These workers may be at risk of cold stress. What constitutes cold stress and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions relatively unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered factors for cold stress. Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and wind speed increases, heat can more rapidly leave the body. These weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems.

Hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot, and chilblains are all illnesses and injuries caused by cold stress. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature becomes abnormally low.

A Comprehensive Approach to Workforce Health

Categories: At-risk Populations, Manufacturing, Total Worker Health

man operating machineryThe health of the U.S. workforce is an issue of importance to both workers and their employers. There is a wealth of evidence on occupational safety and health hazards that may potentially affect workers’ health. In addition to these hazards, personal characteristics and conditions, such as age, gender, genetics, or weight, can impact a person’s work and interact with workplace hazards. Individual characteristics and conditions may change the way workers respond to hazards which they may be exposed to on the job. In addition, employers face burgeoning costs of workforce healthcare which affect their companies’ productivity and profitability, and can constrain growth (ACOEM 2009; Hymel 2011). Maintaining a well-functioning workforce is increasingly critical as the workforce ages and is burdened on a personal level and financially by chronic disease. These issues affect U.S. well-being and competitiveness in the global environment. However, such work and personal factors are generally not considered together. Rather, they have been addressed separately. One impact of this traditional approach to occupational and personal risk factors is that the workforce suffers and subsequently the well-being of the nation is diminished.

Respiratory Protection for Workers Handling Engineered Nanoparticles

Categories: Manufacturing, Nanotechnology, Respiratory Health

Assessment of nanoparticle capture

Figure 1. Assessment of nanoparticle capture: n = 5; error bars represent standard deviations Sodium Chloride (TSI 3160); Silver (custom-built); Flow rate 85 L/min


Each day millions of workers in the United States use National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certified respirators to reduce exposure to harmful gases, vapors, and particulate hazards. NIOSH has certification, quality assurance, and auditing procedures in place (42 CFR Part 84) that assure purchasers and users that the products they are buying/using have been tested and manufactured to strict standards. When selected, maintained and used in the context of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-compliant respiratory protection program, in which personal protective technology is part of the hierarchy of controls to protect the worker, respirator users can expect that their respirator is working and reducing the amount of hazards that they could potentially breathe. However, as new hazards emerge, the applicability of the science that NIOSH uses to base respirator test methods, performance requirements, and use recommendations needs to be continually reaffirmed, updated and improved to assure the expected level of protection is provided. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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