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MMWR
Synopsis for April 26, 2002

The MMWR is embargoed until 12 Noon, ET, Thursdays.

  1. Fixed Obstructive Lung Disease in Formers Workers at a Microwave Popcorn Factory — Missouri, 2000
  2. Factors Associated With Pilot Fatalities in Work-Related Aircraft Crashes — Alaska, 1990–1999
  3. Respiratory Illness Among Workers Exposed to Metalworking Fluid Contaminated with Nontuberculous Mycobacteria — Ohio, 2001

Telebriefing, April 25, 2002
WHO: CDC occupational health expert.
WHAT: To discuss this week's MMWR articles on occupational safety and health. Brief remarks followed by Q/A.
WHEN: Thursday, April 25, 2002; Noon-12:30 PM ET
WHERE: At your desk, by toll-free conference line: Dial 866-254-5942
Teleconference name: CDC
A full transcript will be available today following the teleconference at http://www.cdc.gov/media/.

This teleconference will also be audio webcast. Listen LIVE online at http://www.cdc.gov/media/.

Synopsis for April 26, 2002

Fixed Obstructive Lung Disease in Formers Workers at a Microwave Popcorn Factory — Missouri, 2000

Workers involved in mixing and packaging operations at plants that package microwave popcorn may be at risk for obstructive lung disease.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Division of Media Relations

CDC, Office of Communication
(404) 639–3286
 

Workers involved in mixing and packaging operations at plants that package microwave popcorn may be at risk for obstructive lung disease, based on findings of an investigation by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at a plant in Missouri. Research is continuing in efforts to identify the exact cause of the disease, which appears to be linked with high exposures to vapors from flavoring, and to determine if cases also are occurring among workers at other popcorn plants. NIOSH encourages physicians to report to public health authorities any cases of potential work-related lung disease among workers exposed to food flavorings. There is no evidence of a risk to consumers.

 

Factors Associated With Pilot Fatalities in Work-Related Aircraft Crashes — Alaska, 1990–1999

In Alaska, aviation crashes have surpassed fishing and logging to become the leading cause of occupational fatalities.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Diana Bensyl, PhD

CDC, National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health
(970) 271–5266
 

During 1990–1999, aircraft crashes in Alaska caused 107 deaths among workers classified as civilian pilots. This is equivalent to 410/100,000 pilots annually; approximately 100 times the mortality rate for all U.S. workers. In response, CDC conducted a study to determine factors associated with pilot fatalities in work-related aviation crashes in Alaska. Flights that crashed in instrument weather conditions (i.e., poor visibility) were more likely to be fatal than crashes occurring in conditions with better visibility. The estimated odds of pilot death were also higher when the crash occurred away from an airport, in darkness, or involved a post-crash fire. Additional pilot training and company policies that discourage flying in poor weather conditions might help decrease pilot fatalities. The use of a shoulder restraint also showed a protective effect.

 

Respiratory Illness Among Workers Exposed to Metalworking Fluid Contaminated with Nontuberculous Mycobacteria — Ohio, 2001

In January 2001, three machinists at an automobile parts manufacturing facility were hospitalized with a respiratory illness called hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Douglas Trout, MD

CDC, National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health
(513) 841–4558
 

Subsequently, union and management representatives requested assistance from CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in determining the cause of illnesses and preventing further illness. NIOSH investigators found that additional workers were experiencing similar illnesses at the same facility and that the illnesses were likely related to occupational exposure to the metalworking fluids used in this facility. Similar illnesses have been documented among workers in other machining plants in the U.S. and Canada. Workers, unions, manufacturing companies, and private and public health professionals must be educated about appropriate measures to prevent these kinds of respiratory illnesses.

 


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